Apple enthusiasts patiently awaited the software release of iOS 6, which promised to deliver more than 200 new features to the platform's popular mobile operating system. But it seems as if the most significant of these additions, the new Apple-made Maps application, was lacking in some crucial areas.
Apple’s self-branded navigation app was believed to be a result of the company’s severed ties with Google, which had supplied its own Google Maps feature for previous iOS software. Apple says its Maps app boasts advanced features like turn-by-turn navigation and 3D Flyover, but users around the world have complained about the following bugs outlined below.
- No public transit directions. The disappearance of Google Maps and absence of transit directions is sure to impact city-dwellers. The iOS 6 update does not contain built-in information within the navigation app like Google Maps did, prompting users to turn to separate apps for train, bus, and other public transit directions. “When you buy an iOS 6 device, you get a worse experience for search and no ability to get transit directions out of the box, both of which are significant downgrades from iOS 5,” writes Anil Dash, blogger and director of technology incubator Expert Labs, in a blog post. But some hackers have wasted no time taking this matter into their own hands, as SlashGear reports. Google Transit for iOS 6, which adds a Google Directions option to the list of third-party plugins offered by Apple, was created by developer Simon Maddox just one day after the iOS 6 rollout.
- Inaccuracies and misplaced towns. Some have complained that locations have been misplaced in the iOS 6 Apple Maps application, evoking anger and confusion from users. “iOS 6 Maps doesn’t tell intentional lies, obviously, but they might as well be—what good is a map if you can’t trust it?” Twitter user “dustin curtis” tweeted on Thursday. Complaints from iOS 6 users sent to the BBC have indicated that some towns appear to be missing, and areas such as East Sussex are displayed on the map in the wrong location. GPS manufacturer TomTom is responsible for providing the navigation data for Apple Maps, and appears confident in Apple Maps despite these complaints. “We are confident about our map quality, as selling 65 million portable navigation devices across the world and more than 1.4m TomTom apps for iPhone in the past two years reaffirms this quality,” a company spokesperson said to the BBC. Apple has yet to comment on the matter.
- Lack of local search. No Google Maps also means no Google search, and there have been reported issues of lackluster results when seeking businesses and locations through Apple Maps. “The local search maps experience in iOS 6 is a downgrade,” user and iOS programmer Adam Searle posted to Twitter on Wednesday. “I’m sure it’ll get better as the dataset grows, but I wouldn’t update just now.” Another user tweeted that when searching for “coffee,” not one Starbucks appeared on the map. This problem was initially spotted by Josh Carr of Rocky Mountain Apple Repair, who spent time tinkering with the Golden Master edition of iOS 6 before its launch.
The above issues are the most highly-cited and significant complaints to come from iOS 6 users. Other criticisms of Apple Maps include the absence of street view, which was a landmark feature for fans of Google Maps. In addition to its Flyover and turn-by-turn directional features, Apple Maps boasted traffic information and 3D driving directions, both of which have resulted in disappointment according to PCMag.
“Aside from possible routing issues, Maps doesn’t offer a useful 3D interface while driving” said PCMag's Jamie Lendino.
The estimated time of arrival and distance remaining is crammed at the top of the screen in a status bar, Lendino said. The traffic reporting was also deemed poor by the PCMag writer, who said that the red dotted lines that are meant to display traffic patterns pale in comparison to Google’s color coded system.
Apple is sure to iron out these flaws, but until any issues are addressed iOS device owners may need to use external apps to fulfill all of their navigational needs.
Apple’s iOS 6 comes with a slew of other new features in addition to Apple Maps, which are outlined in detail here.