Wait a minute. The iPhone 5 doesn't do that. Hey, but it's longer, thinner and faster. What else do you want?
It almost reminds me of Microsoft Word. Once MS Word got to the point where it did pretty much everything the majority of users wanted it to do there really was not reason to upgrade. As my own example, the only reason I upgraded some of our systems to Office 2007 was because we needed 64 bit systems for Finite Element Analysis and Office 2003 wouldn't go there.
I know that they'll sell a lot of iPhone 5's, but I really think that they are starting to loose the magic. I, for one, don't really care about thinner or lighter beyond the 4S. A little larger, maybe, but there are so many things that the next generation iPhones could or should be doing that I can't imagine why Apple would pull resources into trying to out-map Google.
3D fly-over map views? Really? How much money did they waste on that crap?
It's almost like Siri. It's a big smelly, smoldering pile of crap. I don't know of anyone that actually uses it. And it sure as hell doesn't work one bit like the TV ads. What a waste.
Yes the maps blow. So let's talk about maps, not the entire complete product which you seem to loth. No offense by this, just would like to move past venting for the sake of venting.
The post is a rant alright, but I'm pissed just the same that Apple's maps doesn't recognize "The Music Academy" in Chennai. It knows my local street, shows a hospital nearby on the map (with correct name) and yet when I put in the name of the hospital in the box to find directions, it can't find the location! The search results are total crap and unaware of the location from which I'm searching (though I've already told it that [edit: I'm in India and it gives autocompletion results to destinations in Austria ... by walk!).
I could go on .. but then again, this will be a rant as well. Here is a "constructive" comment to Apple - put in a new maps app and refine it over time alright, but let us keep the Google maps app alongside. Is that too much to ask?
If Google had a maps app, it wouldn't be too much to ask. Google doesn't have a maps app; iOS has a maps app, which was powered by Google up until iOS 6. If/when Google creates a maps app, I'm willing to bet Apple will approve it for the App Store, just as they've approved Chrome and Gmail.
Apple's contract to use Google as the back-end data source for iOS's Maps app expired and, for all we know, Google refused to renegotiate another contract. I doubt that's the case, but anyone asserting anything either way is simply speculating unless they're sourcing from someone at Apple or Google.
For now, I've done an "add to home screen" of the google maps mobile device page. Works much better for me than the native maps.
I'm glad you've found a more usable replacement for iOS 6's Maps.
This makes me wonder what Tim Cook meant when he wrote "The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get..". Is it a side effect of some kind of caching or learning we're seeing here? The info is certainly there, but it seems like it is the text->geo mapping that turns up "no results" more often than I can tolerate.
From what I've seen tonight with iOS6, Siri got extended to deal with movie showings (another thing I frequently do with Flixter) and the latency seems a bit reduced.
Oh, yeah, the other issue: Try using Siri when your kids are around. Right.
I run a couple of times a week and even then it works very nicely (e.g. a lot of ambient noise). I also have an accent, thought not a horrible one. My kids (who have a native US accent) also use it with no issues.
Before you give up on Siri, I recommend the following. Bring up the Siri prompt, and there will be an info icon on the right. Tap it and see what it's good at and how to get the best of it. Once you've gone through this 5 minute exercise, I believe, your experience will be much improved.
Another pro tip, is that pronouncing punctuation greatly improves recognition and context. In other words, if there is a comma in your sentence, actually say "comma".
I've tried using it in different environments. In nearly all cases it seems that it is easier to Google it (if I am looking for something) or fire-up the app in question (say, Calendar).
Certainly, if I am sitting in front of my computer there's no reason to use Siri (for searching) as both Siri and the iPhone can't compete with Google on a nice big 24 inch screen.
Siri would make sense to use while driving. Here the option t bring the phone to your face (as in making a call) isn't available because --at least in California-- you'll get a nice fat ticket for using your phone while driving. So, it has to work in speakerphone mode. Here's where I think some of the problems come in.
Even with the radio off a car can be a noisy environment. If you air conditioner is on (a necessity in most parts of California this year) you have this noise added to road and wind noise. I've tried using Siri with my iPhone 4S mounted on the dashboard with one of those mounts that grabs it from the sides. In other words, neither the speaker nor the microphone is obstructed in any way, but the phone is not six inches from my mouth. I don't think it has ever worked correctly under these conditions. If the phone had a microphone array for active noise cancellation things could be different.
Maybe it a sue case situation. I don't ever think of using Siri when there's a computer and keyboard around. I don't see the point. I am not going to use it in a meeting, around the kids or at a busy restaurant either for obvious reasons.
Here's another problem. I have a need to communicate in at least three languages: English, Spanish and German with regularity (and French occasionally). Native English and accent-less Spanish. As a silly example, if I ask "Que hora es?" (What's the time?) Siri comes back with a very funny "I don't understand 'Got ass'. But I could search the web for it.". I have to say that Siri is always good for a laugh. I do understand that it is limited to operating in one language at a time. As a programmer I know full well why this is so at this time. The significance of this is that I could not use Siri to dictate messages to clients in Europe. Even if I could, I'd most certainly have to go back, review and hand-edit messages in order to avoid potentially embarrassing errors.
I'll play with it some more, but it sure feels like most of what one could do with Siri require somewhat ideal conditions and, in a lot of cases, could be done faster by hand, particularly so when in front of a computer.
Don't get me wrong, I think this is the way of the future for a lot of the potential interactions with handheld computers. Siri is a huge step forward and I am sure it will only improve with time.
EDIT: turn on the option and use Siri by bringing the phone to your ear like a phone call.
> Wait a minute. The iPhone 5 doesn't do that.
Uh? It's been doing that for 4 or 5 years.
Although you seem to be wrong about it being available for 4 or 5 years. Apparently (in the US) it became available in February of last year for Verizon customers and a little later on the AT&T network.
What sucks is that, in order to enable it, you have to pay an additional $20 to $25 per month on top of your data plan.
That's just wrong. My iPhone is in WiFi nearly 100% of the time. This means that the carrier's network almost never has to deliver data to my phone save text messages and, perhaps, notifications. I'd be interesting to find out if it is actually smart enough to use WiFi for messages when available. If it does, then nearly no data goes over the cellular network. I suspect that lots of people fall into the same pattern.
So, carriers charge us for something that is underutilized and then, if we want to simply use the phone as a personal hot-spot we have to pay more!
Maybe I was right after all, in an odd sort of way.
Granted, not an Apple issue after all.
There's plenty more that could have been better with the iPhone 5. For example, why didn't they move picture and video storage to a removable mini/micro/whatever SD card and also enable this as an external file system that could also be accessed when plugged into a USB port?
That's a slightly different issue: tethering has been built into iOS since 3.0 (there had been kinda-hacky HTTP thethers in 2.0 but let's ignore them), but it is indeed a service operators can lock or unlock via operator settings.
> What sucks is that, in order to enable it, you have to pay an additional $20 to $25 per month on top of your data plan.
I don't, for what it's worth. My carrier gives me 2GB of data per "month" (it's prepaid so I could always get a second bundle) and i can use it for wahtever I want.
> For example, why didn't they move picture and video storage to a removable mini/micro/whatever SD card
Because now you'd need a slot for reading a microsd card. I don't know if you've looked at the teardowns, but the only way to do that is to remove a significant chunk of battery to make room, the phone is packed to the brim. And Apple is not going to trade battery life for an SD slot few people (let alone clients) care for (let alone want).
64 GiB Class 10 MicroSDs are available on Amazon for about $55. You can get an equivalent amount of storage for even less by purchasing multiple smaller capacity MicroSDs. Apple currently gets away with charging a $200 premium for only 48 extra GiB of storage in their most expensive model (64 GiB vs. 16 GiB in the standard model). Why would they want to give that premium away?
Sadly, you're mistaken. http://i.imgur.com/SPBUH.png
If you're iPhone doesn't have it, blame your carrier http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1937
FWIW this only lists "partner carriers", when you buy your phone unlocked (or get a "partner carrier"-provided phone unlocked, which they have to do on request in most euro country) you can use non-partner carriers which often have different sets of restriction (up to "no restriction"). The only one usually missing from non-partners is visual voicemail.
It is really bad, and if navigating a city is one of your key phone usage scenarios, this change makes Apple's arch-rival's devices significantly more attractive than they otherwise would be.
I carry around both the latest Apple phone and the latest Google phone, and this is one area where the Google phone was already significantly superior, even before this fairly astonishing regression in iOS 6. Now the gap is much wider.
Google could (mostly) fix that for Apple by releasing a Google maps app, but why should they?
Wait six months: increases the pain iOS users feel, and possibly increases migration to Android, but by how much? If you've bought an iPhone 5, in many cases that means a 1-year contract (or renewal). And in six months, Apple may have released a better Maps app that fixes the problem.
Release Google Maps for iOS sooner: iPhone users feel less pain, but Google Maps keeps more users.
Actually though, the more I think of it, even in the latter scenario, Apple still wins, because whenever they release their fixed Maps app, they win back the entire market because they own the platform. So maybe the first strategy actually makes more sense.
While there are people who are loyal Apple fans, there are some that are on the fence. This might be enough to push them over to Android or Windows Phone.
Once you go to another platform, you're likely locked into a 2-year contract and it's going to be hard for Apple to get them back.
I think it would be very interesting though to see what would happen if Apple did face some sort of collateral damage whether for this or some other decision. Apple hasn't exactly found itself in many tight spots, or at least doesn't let it show. If a significant chunk of users left and Apple decided it was worth it to get them back, the fastest way to get over the contract hump is just what they've done occasionally in the past: cut the price, aggressively. Of course, this might not be realistic except in some warped little technodoomsday scenario, but still... I wonder...
I'm betting Apple won't fix it in 6 months unless they start buying map corps.
For Apple to cripple such a fantastic feature and leave themselves at the mercy of their arch-rival - whom they've been energetically suing - is baffling.
The maps themselves are provided by TomTom and in the UK and Europe at least they are very high quality, can't speak for the US.
Map coverage of US campuses is also way down. Which makes a very small but vocal segment (US uni students) completely lose their mind over the issue. If you go to the apple/iphone subreddit, 9 out of 10 maps criticisms are US uni campus.
On the other hand, considering how those things work, I'd expect non-US locations to be just as downgraded as US campus (and testimonies in this thread seem to confirm it)
The only thing I miss is street view. But I doubt that's coming back.
Now, by doing their own map, "crippled" or not, they're independent. They're less at Google's mercy than they were before.
If the Apple Maps app someday becomes as good as (or better) than Google Maps, this move will be seen as genius.
If I were in Google's shoes, I wouldn't be launching a native Maps app. Period.
It's not like Maps is driving vast amounts of search revenue for Google. And with the degraded functionality of Apple's own Maps app, Google's Map app has become a reason for a buyer to consider switching to a Google-blessed Android phone.
And I say this as a long-time iPhone user - Maps was an important application for me. Now that it's become less functional, I'm going to actively look at Android and WP.
Everything they collect through maps can eventually be used to enhance their advertising offerings.
So maybe Maps isn't driving a lot of revenue right now but it's definitely one of Google's most ambitious data collection projects.
There's some value in the aggregate information from all users in improving the service, but the law of diminishing returns will be reached quickly. Losing even half the mobile maps usage would have basically no impact in the ability of Google to deduce things from the data. There might be a few exceptions like real-time traffic information where every data point is precious.
I don't think Google's going to get very evil, at least not overnight. They have the infrastructure to collect all this data, the resources to store it, and the technology to make sense of it. They're already at the point where their business regularly butts against social norms regarding privacy.
Ultimately I find advertising an extremely unpleasant (if not inherently evil) phenomenon. At the highest levels it's nearly the science of manipulating unwilling people. Advertising companies, especially nebulous yet megalomaniacal tech companies with access to the best behavioral datasets possible, should be treated as highly suspect.
> If I were in Google's shoes, I wouldn't be launching
> a native Maps app. Period.
Loosing iOS users for some barely noticeable amount of switchers is hardly a good business for Google—do they even make money from Android phones someone sells? I heard Microsoft makes more money than Google does.
Their goal isn't to make money on the devices, so that's a little like comparing the margins on a Kindle Fire to the margins on an iPad.
I'm... not sure how to parse that sentence. I guess it's implying I have a non-trivial amount of stupidity, which probably explains my parsing problem.
Transit routing is a hard problem to scale - Apple has taken a shortcut and pushed it off to 3rd party developers, who can tackle the much more approachable problem of solving it on a city-by-city basis. Which make sense... but this is still a large regression as far as users are concerned. And doesn't help folks that live in smaller cities.
Yes, Apple is probably working on this. But now we come to an odd signalling issue - Apple has basically told 3rd parties that it is worth their time investing in this area. If-and-when Apple opts to plug this functionality hole, they've pulling the rug out from under these developers. And any app developer worth his salt has to be factoring that.
And I'd be really surprised if Apple steps in any sooner than the next iOS refresh - fixing transit seems like a wonderful bullet point for iOS7.
"Loosing iOS users for some barely noticeable amount of switchers is hardly a good business for Google [...]"
Err... what are they losing, exactly? Users aren't inherently valuable. If there's value these iOS users add to Google, I'd love to hear it.
Google is already generating local search and behavioral data via their large Android install base. Beyond brand visibility (which is going to be reduced, thanks to Apple's own offering), what does releasing their own native app get them? A native version that, again I want to emphasis, Apple is actively competing against their own product. Whatever Google releases, it is now going to be a 2nd class citizen, without the OS-level hooks Apple's own solution gets. And this assumes that Apple even lets them release an app. This wouldn't be the first time Apple has blocked Google from releasing an application on iOS because it duplicates existing 1st party functionality.
Basically - why should Google release their own app?
"—do they even make money from Android phones someone sells? I heard Microsoft makes more money than Google does."
I don't think I can adaquately address this in a response to a comment. Google is not a charity, and Android does add to Google's bottom-line.
In closing - I'd fucking love it if Google released a native Maps app. I'm an iPhone user that's gotten bit by this, and am sticking with iOS5 for now. But I'm not going to hold my breathe waiting. Particularly when I don't see a compelling reason for Google to save me.
They don't care so much about people using Android as they care about people using Google products - because then they can collect more data.
Of course if people are on Android the risk is a bit smaller that Google search and maps will be swapped away under their feet.
I don't really see holding out on a release being beneficial to Google, in fact quite the opposite.
Now people will have an app called 'Google Maps' that will be the one they know and love, and might even get them to consider 'hey, maybe i should check out those Google phones as well'.
I'm personally going to hold out on iOS6 for a little while longer while some of the issues get explained or ironed out.
Instead they are propping features like "Palm Picture Capture", "Tilt to Mute", and other dumb things that nobody really cares about.
Things like this is what differentiates great companies, from ones that just doen't get it.
Users don't care about useless feature list, they care about end experience.
Not being able to visually see bus routes (without clicking on another link) and the directions, and then also compare them to walking times is a big feature missing in the mobile web version. It also suffers from a large "below the fold" problem where on my iPhone 4S I cannot see the directions because the inputs for the start and end location take up so much space. It took me a while before I realized that Google had already loaded my directions.
The only upside to mobile is having access to bike routes.
> They just want people to have access to their services.
You think the iOS maps app was stagnant for such a long time because of what? Because Apple is lazy?
It's obvious they don't want to be on the hand of a competitor. Google Maps used to be free with a large API quota when released, remember? Then, once everybody was using it, they updated the API and imposed a much more limited free quota (almost useless), and released a premium version.
Well, I tried getting in touch with anyone at Google to get a quote about the price for their premium API. I couldn't even talk to a human, let alone pay for the service. Now imagine you're Apple, and how much Google would charge.
How exactly? The previous app used Google Maps API and was completely lackluster. The only good thing using their API is their own Android app.
Now, what are Apple's options again?
Contribute to the cash flow of a company detaining the monopoly on mapping data when they can backstab you at any moment? That sounds like the stupidest strategic decision ever. Better get a true partnership.
I'm amazed how HN crowd is vocal against the big companies, but when it's about Google their monopolies are actually encouraged...
What kind of site do you have?
Really? That doesn't sound right. Please send me a mail and I will follow up. My initials at google dot com.
But for users, yes.
I've found the Embark transit applications to be a great alternative (at least for Chicago). It doesn't make up for other missing features like Street View, but you'd be surprised how many users did not even know those features existed.
This is a completely plausible scenario, and look at how Google shines:
1) Seven different transit agencies are represented in the first four suggested routes: LA County Metro, LA City DOT, Culver City Bus, Amtrak, Metrolink and Santa Barbara Transit
2) Google has no trouble mixing and matching the agencies to find the best route (but gives the user the option of reducing transfers).
3) Each route option only requires a subset of those, usually three.
4) Google knows that UCSB means University of California Santa Barbara, and picks a reasonable location on campus
5) This journey works my iPhone 4, but not on an iPhone 5
On the other hand, my girlfriend just upgraded to iOS 6 and her version of maps is basically completely useless. It won't find anything that my iOS 5 version can find.
Maps are such an important feature for travelers that I basically can't upgrade to iOS 6 until the situation is addressed, hopefully by Google releasing a standalone maps app.
The lack of train lines on the maps until you zoom in super-far is shockingly bad. At least your friend managed to find things with his searches - most of my searches for Japanese addresses just come up with "not found" error. Apple's maps definitely seem far more car-oriented than walking or public-transit oriented.
I've taken to carrying an Android phone along with my iPhone.
Oh, and I'm not an Apple fanboy. The most recent piece of Apple hardware I have is a iPhone 3G. My upgrade from that was a Motorola Droid and then a Droid Bionic.
Apart from having NO STATION (It's a really really big station - busiest and one of the biggest in Tokyo) several different train line's terminals are merged into one blue blip smack bang in the center.
There are no convenience stores / landmark shops (eg. mosburger) which ALL Japanese use to find their way around due to lack of order in building numbers (no street numbers.)
The 26, 27 etc. you see are numbered blocks which people use to find addresses - not visible on new map.
No indication of one way streets in most cases. Shinjuku, like many dense parts of Tokyo, has a lot of one way streets.
Also, by doing this, Apple denies Google the information about what locations Apple's users are looking for and makes this available to only Apple.
This contract allegedly contained terms that disallowed Apple from implementing Turn by Turn directions in their application.
Disclaimer: I didn't use OSM's default/ugly color palette.
Disclaimer #2: I have used iOS 6 maps, and the most visible change (other than the color palette) is that subway markers are clickable and that Yelp is more tightly integrated into the pin details.
Without knowing more about your web site I can't do a detailed comparison, but unless people use your web site every day, on the move, to search for transit, business and social locations then the use cases just aren't the same. Not to mention that the biggest issue with Apple Maps is the dismal coverage outside of the US.
If I had to use the same system to actually route myself from place to place, it would drive me insane. As an actual mapping product, Google Maps is peerless.
For Apple, they just need to license more satellite data, which they no doubt will. Google maps satellite coverage was pretty sketchy in the early days too.
Not a dealbreaker, I guess, I'd just be mildly annoyed if I lose that
For finding other stuff I can always use other apps or Google Maps mobile, which is very decent too.
I wonder if Nokia has any ambition take advantage of the current situation?
Not like Google makes significant money off of Android itself.
But, the more apps and platforms switch off it, less eyeballs will see your ads. A bunch of apps switched to OpenMaps already, right? The whole GMaps API bruhaha already forgotten?
But this doesn't fit into that nerd-rage fueled platform war narrative, so disregard. First OS to include a neckbeard trimmer wins.
I got screwed by iOS 6 Beta's lack of transit directions in NYC this summer; I had no reason to expect a serious feature regression, and I'm amazed this made it to release. It might be a Cupertino vs SF thing, but really, even a car owning Bay Area tech person is going to use the subway when visiting NYC or some other cities, so even Apple employees though have prioritized it.
Sounds more like "don't be stupid". We don't see Apple distributing Siri for Android.
The only feature I want is the ability to download maps to the phone. Going to another country and not having maps is debilitating. I spent $300 by not realizing how much data I would download, and download a map while in the middle of one of the Great Lakes in Canada. Being able to download maps while at a wifi connection for the city that I'm in is crucial.
So if the new app is giving you that much trouble or you need that little bit more of information that google provided you. Just open it up.
That said, the lack of third party transit from apple is pretty horrible, and the API for the maps app is pretty limited (you have to throw the start and end points to your app, there's no overlays or anything like that)