Apple Maps: Critical Appraisal and User Reviews

Don’t be surprised if you see Islamabad in Rajasthan or Kabul next to the sea.
Kathmandu could be the capital of Bhutan and a highway could be ending in the middle of nowhere.

I actually saw my friend’s tea estate being shown as an airport while a friend says he saw a hospital in the heart of London at the birthplace of Shakespeare,Stratford-upon-Avon.

Welcome users, to Apple Maps!!

Google Maps is not available on iOS 6 anymore, having been replaced by Apple Maps.

The hotly discussed iOS6 is already getting mixed reviews while Apple Maps is being dubbed as an out-and-out failure. Introduced with the hype that is so typical of all Apple products & apps by Scott Forstall, the software chief at Apple Inc. it has clearly failed to live up to its expectations.

New features of Apple Maps

Apple Maps licenses mapping data from vehicle navigation systems maker TomTom.

The newly launched app has  tried its best to provide its users some new and revolutionary features like:

  • The “Flyover”. It enables users to get three dimensional views of cities and towns.
  • Turn-by-turn navigation
  • Real-time traffic updates.

After the app came in for a lot of flak, TomTom was quick to clarify that though their company was not instrumental in developing the app though they could be blamed for the quality of maps. 

What ails Apple Maps?

Apple maps is seen by many as a direct challenge thrown in by Apple to the ally-turned-rival, Google.

But does it compare to Google Maps?

And if not, what ails it?

The following are some of the problems users are complaining of:

  • Lots of geographical errors
  • No directions for public transit
  • Missing and incomplete information
  • No street view pictures
  • No comprehensive traffic data, which regular users were getting on Google Maps

If initial reports and users’ reviews are to be believed, they are not happy with what Apple has given them and are missing features that they have been used to for years over Google Maps.

Kenan Ali, a resident of Brooklyn (New York), who has been using an iPhone since 2008 and is completely dependent upon public transport in the city, says, “My phone should be able to tell me which bus and train to take. I am hoping in the next update they will somehow add transit directions.”

What users have to say about Apple Maps?

Diehard Apple fans and lovers (I prefer to call them iSheep) who were quick to download iOS 6 software released this Wednesday, are already frustrated. Many of them are already talking about it at Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites.

Here are some of the most interesting ones I came across:

“Surely some high school kid has done these maps for Apple. This is what you can expect from a company which believes in investing more in PR than in R&D,” comments Mei Vilambi from New Delhi.

“Apple has been stealing ideas from others, repackaging and reselling in the market. With its all out “thermo nuclear war” as Steve Jobs said, Apple has no one to come to its aid. Poor Apple users. WIll need to go back to paper maps.!!”, added Patgaron on Twitter

Apple maps is a useless feature for India. Even big metros are not covered with details and it can never match the features of Google maps here. Lamenting why I upgraded rather downgraded to iOS 6!”, laments another disgruntled user Rohit Jain from Chennai.

”Apple has done a blunder releasing their own maps without doing proper developments. They have wasted time and money for something which was not required.Their egoistic approach to Google will surely affect their image. I stay in Bangalore and nothing works fine here. I cant see many roads, I cant get directions between well known cities. Visibility is very poor. On the whole it is a horrible experience using the new Apple maps. Rate 0 on a scale of 10 for Apple standards and hype,” says Parshwanath from Bangalore.

”Apple maps is pathetic for India. Most of the places are not mapped and no driving directions even in Mumbai. How stupid can that be! I am now using the web version of google maps,” said Rajeev Roy from Mumbai.

Yet another user, Tom Davenport, complained that when he looked up ‘taxi services’ and went to see a taxi driver, he was appalled to see a taxidermist instead!

What Apple Inc has to say about Apple Maps?

Trudy Muller, the Apple spokeswoman, said that Apple Maps is a “major initiative”.  She further added that the company is continuously working for the improving the quality of maps. She hopes Apple Maps to get better as more people start using it, since it is a cloud-based app.  .

Our take
Apple charges premium for providing spot on services and user friendly apps. An organization of that stature would do well to test and re-test what it is offering to its users before they go public with it. Because if they fail to do so, they will have only themselves to blame later!

When a user pays through his nose to get world class services, an explanation like “We are continuously improving it” or “The more people use it, the better it will get” is difficult to take down one’s throat. Why would users pay a premium for improper services?

The best we can suggest the iSheep for now is: If you do not like Apple maps, you can simply go ahead and download Google Maps. What’s the big deal?

Meanwhile, here’s wishing Apple Maps all the best.
Hope it can overcome its teething troubles soon and actually become the “apple of users’ eyes” soon!!

Apple Maps: Critical Appraisal and User Reviews, 10.0 out of 10 based on 7 ratings

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