So that makes me wonder what happened in contract negotiations with Google to force it out. Did Google flat-out say "No"? Seems unlikely. Was it just too expensive? That's possible, especially if these negotiations happened during the time Google massively raised the prices on its API (completely random speculation: maybe the price increase was only about Apple), so Apple had to invest elsewhere. Did Google just want control of their map data or want to give Android a massive competitive edge so they backed out? That seems unlikely, but may be answered if Google doesn't put out a map app for iOS.
Given the pain Apple is causing Google in its patent assault I don't doubt for a minute that the senior management at Google would have any regrets about 'losing' the Apple map business vs 'gaining' a poorly executed maps product on their premier devices.
I also don't expect Apple to approve any Google "maps" application any time soon either given how strategic it is for their mobile business.
My best guess is that Apple did the math and said "Well its going to suck rocks but we have to dominate this space, this moves our time table up but doesn't change what we need to do, ship what you have and put your best team on making it excellent."
EDIT: Reminds me of Intel's response to AMD's multi-core where Intel literally glued two separate CPU chips into the same package and shipped it as a 'multi-core' CPU. That sucked too but they had an answer in the market, and they invested in making that answer competitive over the next 3 years to get a more real multi-core out the door.
Soooo, their users don't matter? "Business strategy" is more important?
This is Apple?!
See: The In-App Purchase controversy with eBooks and other applications. For example, did demanding the removal of all links to Amazon.com from the Kindle app (because Amazon didn't want to hand their eBook margin to Apple by using Apple's IAP API) make anyone other than Apple better off?
I wouldn't be surprised if Cook decided next week that they might as well buy TomTom outright.
Ask yourself, "How can Google make sooo much money on search advertising?" I mean seriously, rounded to the nearest billion they don't have any other businesses. The insight that explains it is that search advertising exploits the fact that the consumer is "looking" and they have what they are looking for "the query". When that signals a possible purchase intent "car safety reviews" for example, at that instant in time Google gives advertisers a way to put their message in front of the consumer's eyeballs when they are most receptive to that message. The effectiveness of a car dealership advertisement in a Harry Potter movie preview? Lots of eyeballs, few if any looking for a car. In a search query on cars? Lots of eyeballs, many if not most of which are looking for a car.
This is what makes search advertising an insanely better advertising vehicle then pretty much any other form of advertisement.
Now lets look at maps on mobile devices. This has the same fundamental super power as search advertising, mobile maps are a search api. Many people don't put that together but when you are using your mobile device's maps you are seeking out directions, what you are looking for signals intent, and on that intent one can build a very profitable advertising platform. If I pull out my iPad and click 'coffee shops' on the maps search box I have signaled both where I am, and that I'm looking for a coffee shop. As a shop owner how much would you pay to have that person go to your shop? $0.50? $1? $2? How do you know your ad worked? Well there is an NFC payment, or a coupon you can offer up on the mobile device, or your local WiFi hotspot (remember that?) can tell you that the wifi mac address of the device that did the maps search, just walked into range of your hotspot.
Do you see it yet? Mobile Maps is as big a business as Google's search advertising business and its still un-plundered. Apple will do everything they can to 'dominate' this particular 'free to use' service.
 Best scene ever in "Charlie's War"
It's also why Apple has waited until now to address it. It's because they are not Google, this is not their core competency. It's a platform hole that has to filled, simple as that. Same as iCloud Mail.
Yeah, it's not like Apple is sitting on a mountain of cash right now! Oh wait...
If nothing else, it's certainly possible that writing their own maps app and taking the initial PR/UX hit of "it's not as good as Google's yet" was the only reasonable option available to them.
(Not that we have any idea.)
The browser makers (Mozilla & Co) don't pay either if somebody opens the Google maps web site.
Google charges 'volume' users of their maps API, that is part of the way they pay for it. The map "application" on iOS was a client that called Google Maps APIs and displayed the results. It generates a lot of volume, and Apple was going to have to start paying for that this year.
you wrote: "For example if you show a map on your homepage with all the locations of your stores."
If you did that enough times Google would start charging you. They also reserve the right to show ads for somebody else's store on your map. (not that they would just yet, but they keep that right in reserve if you want to use their content.)
Google and Apple sell Ads. Google is much better at it than Apple is, but the great untapped market is effectively advertising to mobile users. A common theme for desktop users is they use web search a lot, a common theme for mobile users is that they use map search a lot.
Apple wants you to sell ads through their network, so they get a huge chunk of the ad revenue that you are getting for your content. They do this because you're showing your ad on an Apple device. When you use Google maps through a browser you get ads from Google's ad network on the page. If you use an Application (usually a better UX) the platform provider has more control over you (they have to approve your App after all) So the fight here is who sells the advertisement into the Maps data stream.
Google has the best mapping product on the planet at the moment. They can use that to demand concessions like "we get all the ad revenue" in exchange for you being able to use our data/api. They don't care if the local restaurant shows a map to their location, the do care if you're an application that millions of people might use.
Its pretty clear that Google and Apple agreed to disagree and end their relationship with respect to Maps. That the Apple product is so horrible suggests that this relationship ended earlier than Apple planned, or their Maps technology has matured more slowly than they anticipated. Either way, the result is that Apple now has a grossly inferior maps application on their most successful products. This is going to cost them both in sales to people who are on the fence with regard to mobile, and in customer goodwill (this is already evident). That is a calculated risk they took. The alternative was to meet Google's requirements, whatever they were, to continue to use their map data in their application.
The part I think you are missing is this. Apple had to know how crappy their Map application was, customer experience is what they do, they don't just forget about it all of a sudden. Given that they are shipping that pile of crap means that they and Google are at odds on this issue. Is there any scenario where Apple would 'approve' an application by Google that would be instantly significantly better than their native App? Or conversely, given that they couldn't reach an agreement on the native App, do you think Google would agree to constraints in a published App that they would not agree to in a native App?
No, the only explanation that is credible is that they walked away and Apple has dug in their heels and bet that they can build out a better map experience faster than Google can take market share away with Android's map experience. From where I am sitting, given the significance of the risk involved in taking that path (some of which we're seeing being actualized as rampant ridicule) I can only imagine how distasteful Google must have made it for Apple to stick with them. And that suggests to me that you will never see another native Google maps product on iOS until Apple capitulates and cedes the space to Google or Apple moves so far ahead of Google that they no longer feel it is a threat to their advertising base.
As for the other story - sure, if Apple had demanded that the Google Maps app shows Apple Ads, not Google Ads, or that they get a share of the Ad revenue, then Google would walk away eventually. Obviously it is also worth something for Google to have their Maps on iOS, so they might even have paid Apple for the privilege for a while (either a fixed sum, or part of the ad revenue).
If Google were to publish a Maps app now (and Apple would accept it), it would simply be free and show Google ads, like all the other Google maps. Apple wouldn't have to pay a dime. Why should it have been different with a Google maps app shipping with iOS?
Maps are a central part of a mobile device, so I suppose Apple was getting desperate to get a share of the pie (Ad revenue and valuable data collection).
Because the world of business development is very different from the world of consumer APIs. In a bizdev world, you want SLAs and contractually understood definitions of how both sides will behave. A company like Apple (or Google, Oracle, Microsoft, etc) isn't going to build a core feature of its product on somebody else's technology without understanding exactly what that means.
And all of that costs money.
Yes. The scenario we're currently in. By approving Google Maps app now, they give their users back the experience they expect without having to pay Google for the use of the Maps API. Meanwhile they can keep working on their own mapping solution until it's ready to take over, at which point they can pull Google Maps from the App Store.
Truly one of the best parts of working at Google when I did was being able to see so much more of the moving pieces in these sort of mini-dramas. Don't miss it enough to go back but it was unique.
This is almost certainly Apple being pissed off about Android and continuing to untie themselves from Google.
It just isn't working out as well as they had planned.
Google give Maps for free to other providers as well, as long as you bundle search/gmail with it.
Apple decided to pick out and replace the only part that Google don't make money on in iOS, the part that had the most technical risk and the part that Android completely kick their ass on.
Google right now are asking why they should bother going to the trouble of producing a no-revenue Maps app for iOS when so many users suddenly discovered a greater appreciation for Android today.
Apple completely screwed up here. In more ways than one - and it was all because of a grudge.
I didn't calculate that, but I'm fairly certain it works. The only reason Google knew where my businesses were was because I told them. They kept that information walled up, so I guess I need to tell apple too now that there are millions of people seeing that database.
I haven't found where to add a POI, it may not be there, but marking wrong ones is easy.
Edit: Found it. Adding a location is under the "report a problem" under the curl up corner. Don't start with a new pin.
When each iPhone user reports one problem, and staff at Apple take a look at them all, determine whether each report is correct, and act on it, the entire POI problem will be solved.
Spatial adverts are a big thing now, with a big future. I would speculate that beyond the cost of licensing the maps or the contractual stuff is that Apple did not want to deliver to Google more advertisers that would further entrench Google Maps as the dominant player.
Apple need to be able to build their own POI database and knowledge of where all advertiser businesses are in order to get that revenue long-term.
Thus, Apple need control of the maps to control the method that advertisers get onto the map.
I think it's just strategic rather than contractual or short-term financial.
Google doesn't own their own POI database they license it from others and to date Apple hasn't approached these companies. So it isn't about the POI database.
It's more about the fact that Google was withholding data for Turn by Turn and 3D.
I think the figure was that Apple had $117bn or so IN CASH at the end of Q2. Whatever it was, money cannot have been the issue here. (Also, consider the cost of developing the new Maps.app in-house. Huge.)
... but the alternative here is alienating half their users.
They don't have to pay Google forever, they just have to pay them until they actually get their own mapping infrastructure into a usable state.
Nobody likes paying too much, but sometimes the alternative is far worse, and you're much better off just swallowing your pride and doing it.
So, I guess it's not that surprising that apple messed up something incredibly hard in their first attempt. I'm curious as to whether these issues are as widespread as they seem, or if they're more edge cases made to appear common by the internet. But the curiosity isn't enough to drive me to upgrade. I'm totally putting off that until I figure out a decent alternative app.
I think Apple made the right move. Even if Google is 10 years ahead in mapping, the experience you got on the iPhone was Google maps from 2004. So Apple is only 2 years behind 'iOS 5 Google Maps' and given the resources they have to throw at the problem it'll probably improve quicker than that.
I can only see 3D maps as a gimmick, so I can't bring myself to care too much that it's broken. I'm slightly surprised that feature shipped in that state, but meh.
What I care about: can it get me where I'm going? It's 2012 and I've still found nothing that can do that without occasional issues. This version of Maps hasn't been in my hands long enough to judge it properly. Considering the update was just released to the general public less than 48 hours ago, has anyone had time to judge it properly?
Worth noting: I've had the old Maps try to send me through concrete walls, or direct me 400 miles away looking for the nearest branch of a bank. My dedicated GPS unit has told me I've arrived at my destination… in the middle of a busy highway, and it too has asked me to turn through concrete barriers more than once. I've had both direct me to locations well off of where I was trying to go.
This is all from actual usage.
So if anyone knows of something that doesn't have these problems, I'd love to hear from you!
It's not just the quality of the maps that's an issue. It's also the quality of search. Google maps isn't perfect either but on top of having better map data is has better search so for example searching for "gauteir exhibit, sf" actually finds the De Young Museum in San Francisco even though I didn't name the museum nor did I spell the name correctly. IOS6 maps just said "no results"
Here are screenshots of an example situation I ran into yesterday, while trying to pick up my iPhone 5 from the UPS Customer Center:
Most errors seem to be that of string parsing - the biggest sin is not recognizing town/state portions of search strings consistently.
Ironic since I'd bet some of the best language parsing people are busy working on llvm and clang somewhere else on apple campus.
The voice limitation appears to be simply planned obsolescence; Waze can handle it without issues. This is a slap in the face to someone who paid a lot of money to Apple for a current-generation phone a little over a year ago.
Apple's closed platform has worked only because they've been able to give consumers such a high-quality experience. I think this fiasco will be a big wake-up call to lots of iPhone owners about how Apple's limitations can hurt them.
You can't restore from a pre-upgrade backup?
That's the cost of being inside a walled garden. You don't even have the freedom to install previous firmwares on your device.
But since the browser is part of a firmware upgrade it would be a terrible idea anyway, a new security bug has been found on mobile safari recently, you don't want to stay on older fimrwares if you can help it. Google maps, or a secure browser ? Pick one.
Oh, come on.
nor is Apple blocking Google Maps on the browser
And nor are they allowing third party apps to integrate into the OS in the way their Maps app does.
But I agree that anyone buying a new phone is stuck with iOS 6.
Also, while the 3GS (June 09) is getting ios6, the original ipad (April 2010) is not. Apple will abandon their equipment just as fast if it suits them.
Indeed. I am quite frustrated that my first-gen iPad is, for whatever reason(s), not deemed worthy enough of iOS 6.
After 5 versions of the OS, people have what amounts to a beta application without any fallback as of yet. A major feature of the device was discarded.
Kind of hard to put trust in a company that will disregard users like that. And, to be fair, this is not new or surprising. It's one thing to do this on the hardware front. But another thing entirely to do it on the software front.
Keep in mind, this is not the first time they've done this (see the FCP debacle), and when that happened, they caved to customer demand.
So yes, it's a Maps thing.
not that i'm aware of. i don't believe there to be a browser interface for their maps "solution". i could be wrong.
> are there other maps program available on the ios devices?
yes. google maps, or any other maps via the browser. sure, not the kind of integration one gets from an app. but there, nevertheless.
Furiousness is a skill. Tim Cook falls short here.
And SJ, while he was leading Apple, was always without fault?
If that's the case, how do you explain Ping? MobileMe? The G4 Cube?
As far as what Jobs would have done; the state of the maps is a plain embarrassment - I can't see why anyone has released this, let alone anyone with as much care about details as Jobs.
So, camera and maps are clearly not the primary features influencing smartphone buyers.
@philwelch is right. It's a work of bloody art. It's in MoMA's permanent design collection for a reason. It's the Neil Armstrong of personal computing. If it's a mistake then so was Newton's Principia, the Declaration of Independence, and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Seriously, it's that good.
If you're going to slag on something, slag on the hockey puck mouse. THAT really was a POS.
(back in the day Macs were for oldies who didn't know what the hell they were doing on a computer so Apple products didn't really register with me at the time)
My first impressions are that it looks like a plastic rubbish bin.
I always loved the G5 tower though.
You can play this game with just about everything Apple has sold since this machine was introduced. Virtually all of it has some design cue that can be traced back to the Cube, and no further. It really was the Genesis Box.
At the announcement it was couched as "Exchange for the rest of us" – it was trying to outdo a competitor's product. (To say nothing for how it countered many of the features Google was trumpeting for Android…)
SJ was absolutely aware of MobileMe, and was intimately involved with many parts of the product.
And, given all of that, it still was a flop of a launch. A launch that was so bad, I'm sure it was a motivating factor in the iCloud rebranding.
And to claim the G4 Cube was a minor product is just amusing. SJ was incredibly proud of that machine when he announced it. And you know he was deeply involved in its design, from day one.
Now everybody knows that Apple's history with cloud-based initiatives have been less than stellar, and no time was that more clear than during Apple's klunky MobileMe rollout a few years ago. Server down time and extremely slow loading times had many wondering how Apple let a product that seemed beta at best roll out to the masses - for a $99 fee no less.
The MobileMe fiasco was of course not lost on Steve Jobs who reportedly told members of the MobileMe team that they "should hate each other for having let each other down."
At one point, Jobs asked his team what MobileMe was supposed to do. Upon receiving an answer he quickly fired back, "So why the f doesn’t it do that?" Jobs even invoked the name of trusty ally Walt Mossberg - who was critical of MobileMe - to drive home the point that the MobileMe rollout was a flop.
"Mossberg," Jobs said, "our friend, is no longer writing good things about us.
Jobs was a marvelous CEO, but Apple made many missteps – some larger than the current uproar over iOS 6 maps app – while he led the company. Without having personally knew the man, one cannot claim what SJ would have done in this situation. Plain and simple.
A lot of the problems people are having with maps seem glaringly obvious and a lot of developers were raising red flags on this during the iOS 6 beta.
then again, they do need the crowdsourced data, but maybe they could have had the iOS 5 app stream a duplicate of whatever it's phoning home to google into the new Maps databank.
Well, around tech circles, Apple and Google frequently get more free passes compared to Microsoft.
And that's kind of funny because Nokia just put out a comparison with Apple and Google maps to cash in on this hoopla.
Then Apple and Google "divorced" while the iPhone was exploding, Google basically stopped improving Maps on iOS (all features went to Android), and here we are today, with the best-selling smartphone falling 5 years behind. Not Apple's finest moment.
incorrect: maps was an apple app that use google maps service. So it was apple that stopped improving maps on Ios
Do you have evidence of this? I find the history of this fascinating and have my own theories (that I've posted elsewhere), but this is a pretty definitive statement that isn't the way I imagined things going down.
For instance, when Google launched turn-by-turn navigation for Android they said that it'd be available on the iPhone as well before long. That never happened.
The post focuses on the reach of their maps by showing lots of numbers in a comparison. They would better demonstrate their point with side by side pictures, like the ones from OP of this thread.
Personally, I wonder about the reach of this marketing angle. I take 2 international trips per year. I'm in the same city 330+ days/year. I don't care if the maps work in Columbia or South Africa. I just want it to work well where I live!
So do people in Columbia and South Africa. :)
I'm also in the same city for the vast majority of the year, but I already know how to get from home to work and back.
Microsoft used up their free passes almost 20 years ago now.
[No apple-hater, but postponing upgrading iOS indefinitely]
Google Maps has street names in both Thai and English, whereas Apple Maps only has Thai.
Edit: Just tested. This does not work for street names. Sorry.
There's definitely room for a lot of improvement …
If there were some perfectly reasonable explanation for why upgrading to the new version of iOS/Android/whatever caused text messaging to stop working reliably for a significant percentage of people, I expect we would see more or less the same reaction.
Of course, the fact that it sometimes generates utterly ridiculous visuals is no doubt helping the spread of the meme, but the underlying complaint here seems perfectly valid.
Agreed and I would add when you're buying a $199 "next-gen" phone, I'd expect things to work properly out of the box.
If it isn't ready, then don't release it.
Searching by address for me has been accurate (and at least a couple of the screenshots on the linked site are obviously playing on that by having street address in one window and business name in another).
In my part of the world (rural Western Australia) the route mapping (which I use Maps for far more than searching for a business name) is looking pretty good, even though we don't get turn by turn until next month apparently. Incidentally route mapping is something that Google has screwed up for me on more than one occasion as well.
The text messaging comparison is just ridiculous.
This is new development though and only on the Google Earth product for mobile, not in the maps app. Maps app for Android has those blocky untextured 3d buildings in select areas.
It's interesting how Google does it. They both contract and scan data in, but they also let you use SketchUp to submit data as well.
They seem to have tried out OSM in the photos app (with a horrible skin), but to have used purchased data for the street maps. Perhaps they felt it wasn't good enough in some locations they tested?
In my experience OSM is superior to Google maps in many locations (even in parts of central London), and it is of course continually improving.
It certainly will be better but I'm not holding my breath about Apple maps surpassing Google Maps any time soon. Google bought a Rasmussen brothers' company (what eventually became Google Maps) in 2004. That's eight years of product development, data collection, storage and refining -- all at Google's pace. Will Apple find some shortcut to compress this time in one-two year? Unlikely.
It's very easy to underestimate the amount of pure, repetitive effort required to build products of this sort and how hard it is to "disrupt" the industries with players like Google.
I don't think it will be easy for them to catch up (it would be absurd to say that they can have something better than Google Maps in such a short time).
What bothers me a lot, is that most people blame the data errors to the algorithms or ability of the team to create good software. You can have the best coders in the world, and if they have data that is not good, they can only algorithmically clean it so much.
Google has several vehicles that they drive around and collect all kinds of information themselves. Sure you can hire Navteq (or in Apple's case, TomTom aka TeleAtlas) to go around and do it for you. Guess what? When you license products from either of those companies that means you are relying on their editors. That means no fancy object recognition geotagged image that you can send to a support vector machine to flag an area as needed revision... the product you get from that licensing is the vector line with the attributes already attached to them. So that is what you work with.
Google has an entire army in India, using Google-made custom editing tools that do these things. Unless Apple builds the same, they will always be behind. Can Apple do it? Sure! They have the cash and the talent. Will they? It is up to them to decide if investing 400 million into their mapping infrastructure is worth it. I think it is.
At the same time, Apple has a carefully cultivated history of not shipping half-baked products. They famously worked on tablets for years before they built one that they were happy enough with to ship.
Now, for reasons that the end user surely does not care about, they have taken a product that was missing a key feature or two (navigation, street view) and replaced it with something that is much less reliable even for its fundamental task.
Yes, making a really good mapping application is hard, and requires many people on the ground, around the world. So either you need to make the commitment to do what it takes to deliver that app, or you should outsource the whole thing, and use Nokia Maps or Bing Maps or whatever. The third alternative -- doing it yourself and shipping it to end users before it's ready and without having done all the due diligence -- is likely to be embarrassing.
For instance, in the map of the Shibuya station area in , besides the general paucity of detail, note that only roads are considered worth mentioning, although the vast majority of people don't arrive by road. That may fly in Cupertino, but it certainly doesn't fly in Japan. This is not the middle of nowhere—it's one of the most popular places in the largest city in the world, and indeed, is iconic even in the U.S.
The impression one gets is that Apple is way out of its depth here, and given the importance of mapping for smartphone users, that seems a pretty major screwup.
"Sources tell The Verge that Apple began work on the iOS 6 maps system nearly five years ago"
Wow. Just wow. Now we see how strategically brilliant (and utterly necessary) Android actually was.
Given the relative sizes of patent portfolios prior to Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility, I wouldn't bet on Google should the IP wars shift to mapping...of course I wouldn't bet on Apple either.
There are a lot of problems with road map and point data (at least in the UK) which are nothing to do with the points you've raised above, though those are fair criticisms too - however the satellite data is the least of their worries, I'm sure they could buy in a better cleaned up set of satelite tiles if they're willing to spend enough money, and people expect some problems with that, but basic search and mapping is not as complete as it should be.
I love OSM and I use it every day - but I know what it does, what it is good for and what it is not meant to do.
Getting a list of towns for the entire world is easy. Solving the issues in the listed by the OP's tumbler requires data that OSM does not have.
For most people the 3D is an amusing toy, not really useful. I'd be happy without it frankly.
OSM doesn't do elevation
See 3D above
OSM doesn't do geocoding
They have data for searching on street addresses and towns, and the data is available separately for postcodes etc (TomTom for example will have sold a solution for this to Apple, so they could have gone down that route). Google has this down, as you'd expect given their search expertise, and Apple would have done better to pay them at least for access to this service if nothing else as it's a complicated area.
OSM doesn't have a cleaned up dataset of Points of Interest
Yelp does, and that's who Apple are using for POIs
One other point you didn't mention is that OSM doesn't do satellite data (their stuff is from Yahoo isn't it?), so that is a big area Apple would have had to sort out from another provider.
While you're right that there is no one-stop shop for mapping services, and it's a really complex area (i.e. just choosing OSM would not solve all these probs, as you point out) I do think Apple have missed a chance to form a symbiotic relationship with OSM and enhance the quality of their maps with an open process rather than relying on the often out of date commercial data available and having to either fork the commercial data from this point on, or merge changes. Dealing with all these fixes will suck up a lot of time they could spend on improving the app itself.
The complaints about the "zigzagging" are about the 3D viewer, hence, my comment about 3D.
>They have data for searching on street addresses and towns, and the data is available separately for postcodes etc (TomTom for example will have sold a solution for this to Apple, so they could have gone down that route). Google has this down, as you'd expect given their search expertise, and Apple would have done better to pay them at least for access to this service if nothing else as it's a complicated area.
To have good geocoding, you need to have line segments with correct ranges and topologically accurate (for example splits in the right intersection taking in consideration overpass/underpass and grade changes - the 3D stuff you don't care about - along with no dangling edges). If you think OSM fits this bill in a world-wide dataset you are incorrect. Go ahead and download the entire dataset and see for yourself planet.openstreetmap.org.
> Yelp does, and that's who Apple are using for POIs
Actually, yelp only has coverage in the US and in the few outside countries they are in. Most of the world is not covered by Yelp's POIs, so sorry, but "Yelp" is not a worldwide solution for POIs - which is what Apple needs.
> One other point you didn't mention is that OSM doesn't do satellite data (their stuff is from Yahoo isn't it?), so that is a big area Apple would have had to sort out from another provider.
Yahoo, nor google, nor anybody else have their own satellite providers. That data usually comes from GeoEye, Digital Globe or any other satellite image provider. But yes, you are right, "OSM" has nothing to do with raster data as a whole (except for the elevation-derived contours they have in some places).
Fixing OSM for anything else than displaying maps is a huge undertaking. Then, when you are done, you basically have to share the data with everybody else (including Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Mapquest etc etc). OSM is the GPL of databases, so for some use cases, it is not the best choice, for other ones, it is.
The post I replied to claim "Apple just pick OSM", and my answer remains... it would not have solved any of the issues that people are complaining about.
OSM data is licensed under ODbL. It has nothing common with those "license terrorists".
It didn't say 'Apple just pick OSM' (which implies picking OSM would solve all their problems), and as I've pointed out, there are problems with data which it would solve. Here are some examples:
Puna, Peru, roads in the water
Cayman Islands, no road data
These are serious problems with data which Apple will have a nightmare fixing as there are just so many holes in their data outside the US, and they're now waiting for mapping companies like tomtom for updates, or they'll have to fork and then try to merge with tomtom/etc data later again.
For many (I'd say most) users of the maps app, the order of priorities are something like:
1. Accuracy of map data
2. Coverage of map data
3. Accuracy of map searches (streets, postcodes, POIs)
4. Routing (this is hard problem though)
5. Satellite imagery (for some this would be above routing)
6. Streetview (for some this would be higher)
7. 3D stuff
OSM would help with the first three points (along with other sources of course, just as say tomtom needs supplemented), and would also help in future as other people would do the hard mapping and updating work for apple, which will otherwise prove to be a mammoth task.
Everything else is far less important than getting the basic mapping data right first, including 3D renders of major cities, and even satellite data (nice to have, but less important than basic search and display of accurate mapping).
If they used OSM data and imported (say) every month, they could just tell people to visit OSM to make corrections, and problem areas would gradually get better. As it is they're going to have to sift through hundreds of thousands of reports of missing roads etc which just say 'this is broken, fix it', and they're likely to just be submerged under that workload. Anyway, I don't think we're saying such different things - I'm not saying OSM would cure all Apple's problems or even most of them, just that I thought it would be the best choice for them for the most important facet of their map product, the basic vector data, which is sorely lacking at present and unlikely to rapidly improve.
True OSM doesn't have that, but there are some public domain datasets available for that, e.g. SRTM.
OSM doesn't do geocoding.
True. OSM is just a database, you'd have to make your own "address ↔ position" algorithm. Which is sorta hard.
OSM doesn't do routing.
OSM is just the database. You can (and people have) make a routing engine on top of that (e.g. http://map.project-osrm.org/ http://maps.cloudmade.com/ ). You can do very specific types of routing (e.g. I figured out how to cross Dublin without passing a pub http://www.kindle-maps.com/blog/how-to-walk-across-dublin-wi... ).
OSM doesn't do 3D.
OSM doesn't have a cleaned up dataset of Points of Interest.
Yes and no. OSM is a database and has lots of Points of Interest, e.g. here's a Starbucks in London ( http://www.openstreetmap.org/api/0.6/node/488443269 ), so it's trivial for someone making a map app to make a database of PoIs that an application can look up.
The only time Apple helps open source is when they hire the most important people in really important projects, and then they graciously allow them to continue contributing. CUPS, LLVM, it's happened a couple times. They take good care of these guys, but I always feel like their contributions to the projects after Apple are being written with one eye watching over their shoulder to make sure they dont get sued for talking to the public about some super secret project.
I'd rather have seen more focus on getting the basics right, even if it meant they had to leave out (for example) satellite imagery in the first iteration. As it is they have broken satellite data, broken street mapping, and incomplete place names.
If they had chosen to back an open project like this they could have had a team of people worldwide fixing their maps for them, rather than trying to collate and correct thousands of bug reports from around the world and push them out in revisions. I wouldn't like to be on their mapping team over the next few months :)
It's not clear exactly where they get all the data, and what is used where, but simple searches like Paddington Station are not working (Paddington does, but not Paddington Station), and I'm sure they're not using the OSM vector data (in the UK at least) as it differs and is less complete than OSM in rural areas for example.
It would be interesting to know just how they've put their datasets together and what they used from where, but it looks like they use tomtom map data in the UK (along with Yelp places, and perhaps Royal Mail addresses/postcodes).
It's not surprising that densely populated areas in Europe/UK are complete and accurate in OSM.
The main advantage would be that OSM has all the adding/editing/updating stuff down - that is a major operation and if Apple are trying to do it all themselves while merging inconsistent data from several sources and taking care of customer complaints they'll find themselves falling farther and farther behind people like Google who have devoted years and years of effort and a lot of money to this just to get where they are now.
Perhaps Apple considered OSM as a basis and decided it was just too limited in areas that were important to them - it would be fascinating to find out about their internal tools for this and where the data came from but I suppose we'll never know.
Google executives must be laughing very hard right now. If I was Google I'd avoid releasing a Google Maps application for at least a year and let the Android handset manufacturers ruthlessly exploit Android's superior maps.
This stuff gets so tiresome. Apple has been buying maps companies for years. Steve Jobs personally ran acquisitions at Apple. He decided which mapping companies to buy and when he did he probably had a good idea of how they would fit into the platform. Development of the new Maps app was surely underway when Jobs was still alive. What do you think happened? Jobs died and the executive team was like, "Alright everyone, we've got 6 months until the iOS 6 beta is out. Let's cancel our contract with Google and get this shit maps app in there pronto!"
The reality is that Apple has been dependent upon their biggest competitor for a strategically important smartphone feature. The Wall Street Journal reported months ago that Google initially balked at letting Apple have access to Street View, and didn't allow Apple access to turn-by-turn data. If the issue was only quality, Apple could have turned to Bing or Yahoo. They didn't because owning this technology is a strategic necessity in the smartphone market as it stands today. Having features dictated by competitors is not an option.
It's true that the quality of the maps app isn't great. I get looney search results (even when tapping on their search suggestions) and it's extremely frustrating. But there is something to be said for getting it shipped and starting the process of refinement and improvement. It only becomes a strategic problem if the quality doesn't improve noticeably with time.
What's almost as tiresome as the now persistent refrain of "this wouldn't have happened if Steve was still alive" are claims to know what Steve would have actually done if he were still alive. Your second option is ridiculous on its face.
But they could just send in Forstall, he could easily do it and get away with it.
At the same time, I totally respect and get why Apple did this. I applaud competition with Google Maps (I'd love to see OSM become a success too).
The negative PR and reduction in the quality of the core experience might cause a reduction in sales or consumer opinion of Apple.
>> What do you think happened? Jobs died and the executive team was like, "Alright everyone, we've got 6 months until the iOS 6 beta is out. Let's cancel our contract with Google and get this shit maps app in there pronto!"
Your assertion that Apple had a choice between owning strategic maps technology or licensing from others is incorrect as they are not mutually exclusive.
I have to say I don't think it's a smart strategic move -- somebody has acted on a false dilemma and as a result reduced product quality. As you pointed out yourself, Apple could have gone to Microsoft or Yahoo to retain quality or they could have fought harder with Google to keep the contract for a while longer. It was not a bad strategic decision to buy maps companies and to put R&D into creating their own maps solution, however it is a bad decision to release Apple maps in this state.
Could be. Remember though that they also added at least one notable feature (turn-by-turn), so it's more like 1 step forward and 2 steps back rather than just 2 steps back.
Also remember that Apple took a pounding for the whole antennagate thing, to the point where Steve Jobs had to hold a news conference to get everyone to calm down. That was an issue that "regular people" knew about. (I was asked by people at a bar if the iPhone 4 I had at the time had reception issues, for example.) And yet, Apple sold a ton of iPhone 4s, and no long-term damage was done to the Apple or iPhone brand.
So I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that this will cause long-term problems. However, it is important for Apple to improve their maps data quickly.
No, I'm sure SJ wanted to get way from Google. But I doubt he would have let Apple release iOS6 maps in the state they're in if he were still in control.
Maybe they should have kept it US only and still use the old Google one for outside the US, as that seems to really be where the quality issue is with the data.
What's missing in all of these conversations is that Apple's contract with Google for mapping ended this year. No one knows what really happened for Apple to make this change.
This isn't about "one bad app," it's about a core smartphone app that everybody uses. That's why so many people are complaining and the story is kicking off all over the place.
This is in many ways who moved my cheese. I don't care if Google or Apple (who made the google maps app pre ios6 anyway using google apis) is responsible for the old maps app not being on ios6. If google wants their app on the apple store they can submit it.
If apple denies it thats another matter and not worth arguing right now.
ios6 is so much better than 5 overall I think you're being somewhat overly dramatic about one app. Yes it feels rushed, but its likely this is a stopgap due to contractual problems.
And besides, these are just phones. People are so up in arms about this its getting to fever pitch levels. Why everyone expects perfection from the start is beyond me. Its a start, and not yet perfect for everyone. Either it gets better and all this complaining was just for pageviews (most likely), or people actually vote with their wallets and switch.
Until that switch happens, these arguments are getting tiresome and to be honest aren't very constructive.
I think it would have been worthwhile to keep the contract with Google (even if it's expensive) while investing in making a better Apple Maps app.
I find it very unlikely this move was prompted by Google. Honestly, it looks positively amateurish the way the change was implemented by Apple.
I will admit it will drive my next phone purchase: Maps are my #2 usage after mail, I very much depend on it to get around.
Take your pick. There are solutions that can be used to work around this issue and meet your needs.
More of a foothold? They already had virtually 100% (I'm exaggerating, but I can't think of anybody who used anything else for maps).
They don't have any incentive to make life easier for iPhone users. They have an incentive to remind iPhone users how they're really dependent on Google, not [just] Apple.
P.S. I must say It was really cool to see Cira Centre (The Amtrak Building) rendered in 3d. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cira_Centre
The satellite imagery is as bad as googles was, but more than six years ago.
It's just atrocious. OK, so you have some bad POI coordinates, that's bad but somewhat understandable. But how do you prefer your bad POI data to the correct coordinates that you're given? It boggles the mind.
It has several bugs (excluding maps and unfortunate wifi bug), which already have affected me and users around me. Some most notable include following.
* Sometimes iTunes update screen does not refresh,
* You can't disable vibration for notifications per application (i love my email in notification center, still - i do not need it to vibrate; in 5.1 it worked).
* Also, phone from time to time vibrates, though nothing has happened (no new notifications or alerts).
* Most annoying one is that they changed keyboard input, so you can't enter special characters (common in Latvian) by holding and swiping left/right. You have to swipe up and then left/right. Makes big deal, when typing.
I know it all will be fixed in 6.0.1, but still - there is visible decline in quality of provided software, which actually makes me very sad as a user.
Google Maps had a tendency to drop pins for locations on the wrong spot. That meant I always had to confirm the location with street view, 100% of the time.
Going to the wrong spot can be catastrophic in some instances (wrong or non existent hospital.) In others it can be really bad (missing a critical meeting, walking in during a wedding.) I don't need to give more examples.
Google giving not so great search results is one thing. I can look at the page and quickly tell that its wrong. When maps are wrong, it can add another 30 minutes between figuring out you went to the wrong spot and getting to the right one.
If Apple's management thinks its acceptable to roll out beta products on all of their users, I'll be moving to Android.
> If Apple's management thinks its acceptable to roll out
> beta products on all of their users, I'll be moving to
I think his reasoning is that, if all the options are going to be beta-level products, he might as well use Android. I think Apple has always implicitly presented a deal where they tightly control their phone, but the experience is excellent. You don't care who makes the maps app because it "just works." If that's changing, users might be happier in an ecosystem where choice is more pervasive.
That, IMO, is absolutely the deal you make with Apple. More money, less hackability, and better experience.
If Apple starts crapping out stuff, there's no point in buying Apple.
Directions that are perfect for everyone, all of the time? Has that ever happened? I don't think so. I think it has always been a steadily improving mess. This may be a step backwards, but let's be realistic, here.
FWIW: I can see that turning into a lawsuit.
4. Content in the Products. (a) Map data, traffic, directions, and related Content are provided for planning purposes only. You may find that weather conditions, construction projects, closures, or other events may cause road conditions or directions to differ from the map results. You should exercise judgment in your use of this Content.
And Apple's iOS6 License agreement states:
5. Services and Third Party Materials. (e) Neither Apple nor any of its content providers guarantees the availability, accuracy, completeness, reliability, or timeliness of stock information, location data or any other data displayed by any Services. [...] Location data provided by any Services, including
the Apple Maps service, is provided for basic navigational and/or planning purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon in situations where precise location information is needed or where erroneous, inaccurate, time-delayed or incomplete location data may lead to death, personal injury, property or environmental damage. You agree that, the results you receive from the Maps service may vary from actual road or terrain conditions due to factors that can aﬀect the accuracy of the Maps data, such as, but not limited to, weather, road and traﬃc conditions, and geopolitical events. For your safety when using the turn-by-turn navigation feature, always pay attention to posted road signs and current road conditions, and follow safe driving practices and traﬃc regulations.
There's basically no difference between the two. If the argument didn't arise when Google released their Maps product, or when MapQuest released their product, then there's no reason to be making the same argument against Apple for their maps product. The idea that someone will use Maps to get to a hospital and end up dying or becoming severely injured because they were told to take a left at Alberkerky and got lost is pretty weak. We might as well start arguing about how US Republicans are going to kill grandma and US Democrats are going to redistribute your wealth because that argument has more of a chance of actually affecting the lives of people, but is still as much of a emotionally charged fallacy as maps causing injury or death.
1. There's more to contract law than reading the contract.
2. There is a huge difference: Google gets the placement right, Apple does not.
It would be one thing if a search for a hospital on iOS failed by returning "Not found." It's quite another if the search returns an abandoned warehouse 6 miles away.
Good luck convincing a jury that this isn't negligence, especially when Apple knew very well that their data was garbage.
Google's Android? As in Google, the inventor of the "perpetual beta"?
It's not like Apple "usually reverts in quality" either. This was a business decision, probably forced. They had to create something of their own for maps from what they could license and buy quickly.
Goes to show that you should not depend on your competitors for core technology. Which Apple always tries to avoid, but probably in 2007 (when the iPhone come out) the didn't think of Google as a competitor. They weren't in the phone business back then...
In what could be a key move in its nascent wireless strategy, Google (GOOG) has quietly acquired startup Android Inc., BusinessWeek Online has learned. The 22-month-old startup, based in Palo Alto, Calif., brings to Google a wealth of talent, including co-founder Andy Rubin, who previously started mobile-device maker Danger Inc.
-- BusinessWeek, August 16, 2005
Yes, they weren't. The first Android phone appeared one year after the iPhone (HTC Dream, released on October 22, 2008).
That 2005 acquisition didn't automatically make the two companies competitors...
For Apple's set of rich customers in the U.S., yeah, maybe driving and walking are good enough. But "most of the people" is a huge overstatement.
The thing is – and what the apple fans are all afraid of (but few may admit) is that this isn't just a stumble, but rather, the first major indicator of what a post-Steve Jobs Apple product experience is like.
Every good ride comes to an end – it's just a question of when and how.
I'm not afraid of it because it's bullshit. Where do we lay the blame for the YouTube app then? Or the huge engineering problems with the original MacBook Air? When Steve Jobs tried to kill iTunes for Windows and the App Store, how was he looking out for the user experience? I have little doubt the much-derided contacts app for Mac and iPad was a direct order from SJ. His influence was a mixed bag.
The only people who deify Steve Jobs' every move in Apple like that are people that aren't actually fans or aren't actually paying attention. Steve Jobs had a great vision, but he made bad decisions and good ones. As long as Apple is still doing exponentially better this week than last week, and they are, then the naive ones in this equation are the ones placing any amount of weight on "post-Jobs Apple" yet. We aren't even close to that.
The first macbook air, despite engineering issues, was widely viewed as an amazing step forward for portable computing and it, echoing the iPhone, pushed the industry forward considerably.
Say what you will, it was still a major success and yet another feather in Job's cap, as viewed by the general public.
Don't think for a second that I'm saying Jobs was perfect in any way – but there is a general vision of Apple under his leadership as being the golden goose – Apple hasn't had a huge public fumble in the last decade that has been able to make its core customers question its ability to deliver ever increasingly good user experiences.
There have indeed been mistakes, but none of them have seemed to really injure the giant that is Apple. That generalized success has largely been credited to Jobs – with strong help from Cook and Ive. With Jobs' passing, it has been a real question as to whether Apple can keep that string of big successes and minor, if any, failures going.
What I'm suggesting is that if not fixed quickly, the maps experience downgrade will be viewed as a sign that post-Jobs Apple isn't the same and that may be dangerous for Apple.
Apple's bigger than anyone ever dreamed they'd be and they're the global standard bearer in smartphones. Any platform regression anywhere now affects millions of customers. The Mac is a piffle compared to iOS.
Edit: I will definitely agree that the fallout from this problem will be greater than any they've ever faced.