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The "roller coaster" effects in the 3-d view are my favorite. They've got some smoothing algorithm going, or it wouldn't curve the way it does, but the elevation data must not have a high enough resolution. Google has made this sort of thing look so easy for so long, but it's clearly very hard to get this stuff right.

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 don't think Apple gets a pass here. If they are forcing users onto their product it had better be competitive, no matter how hard it is. Microsoft got so such pass with WP7 and that was an entirely new OS/platform!

It's not known if Maps was removed because of Apple or Google or both. So while there's no choice on having Google's Maps removed in iOS 6, the reason it happend isn't clear. When it came time to renew the contract one or both parties could have made unacceptable demands, leading to the current situation.

Yes, it's interesting how everyone has been assuming Apple booted Google off of iOS as an act of vindictive retribution. Everybody assumed that Apple's maps would have magical qualities that would leave Google looking second rate. Now that it seems to be the other way around you have to wonder if it was actually Google that pressed the big red button on the maps contract.

I think it's not really a case of who booted who off. I assume that Google wouldn't let Apple have any of the good features like vector maps or turn-by-turn navigation. Google Maps on iOS was already the shittiest mapping app across all platforms. So Apple have replaced it with an even worse alternative but at least it has some headroom to improve vs 2004 Google maps experience which was never going to get any new features.

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.

Anyone here actually used this version of Maps to find someplace yet? Not just to break it and point and laugh, but to actually use it?

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 tried to use it today. I'm in Kapaa, HI. I searched for "Bar Acuda" a highly rated and popular restaurant here on Kauai. iOS 6 maps gave me some place in Spain. Tried "Bar Acuda, Kauai" and was told "No Results". Tried iOS 5 with just "Bar Acuda" and it found it first try.

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"

For me a killer problem is that it doesn't have access to the massive Google Local place database, so I find myself unable to find the addresses of things I want directions to (making the question of whether I'd get good directions to the destination pointless).

Here are screenshots of an example situation I ran into yesterday, while trying to pick up my iPhone 5 from the UPS Customer Center:


It works most of the time. Especially for businesses, as I think it accesses the yelp directory. If it gets point a and b correct, the routing seems ok.

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.

For that matter, they have people working on natural language processing, though my phone's too old for me to know how that's working out for them.

Here in London you're only guaranteed to find where you're going if you search by postal code. And the directions are quite bad too… through parks and etc.

The Mayor of London has some tips


Does Apple have a Maps program on the Android devices? Are there other Maps programs available on the iOS devices? Saying Apple is 'forcing' users onto their product is a bit much.

You're being obtuse, people have money invested in the Apple ecosystem, it's not easy to switch, and no other mapping app will have the iOS integration Maps does. Until a comparable app is available on the OS, yes Apple is forcing users onto their product.

You're not forced to upgrade to iOS6 nor is Apple blocking Google Maps on the browser.

I upgraded to iOS6 to get the turn-by-turn navigation. Now I discover that only iPhone 4S and 5 devices get voice guidance. There is no way I can get Google Maps back without jailbreaking my phone.

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.

> There is no way I can get Google Maps back without jailbreaking my phone.

You can't restore from a pre-upgrade backup?

If you didn't jailbreak beforehand and capture the SHSH blob, no, you can't. So for the vast majority of people who upgraded to iOS 6 there is no going back.


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.

You're not forced to upgrade to iOS6

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.

Unless you want, say, security updates. You're also forced to buy a new phone/device if you want them after x years too, where x is a low number

Where X is a number considerably higher than for Android. Look at the number of years the 3GS has survived and compare that with your average Android phone not getting latest OS updates or any security updates.

But I agree that anyone buying a new phone is stuck with iOS 6.

It depends on what kind of updates you're talking about. OS updates are a problem, but I personally know that the G1 got around 3 years of Maps app updates, and given the current OS version distribution newer devices are likely to do even better than that.

My Motorola droid is able to run Android 4.1 - not a super snappy experience, but it does run. It released in october of 2009. Every feature in 4.1 works on it. I don't have the "fun" apple is pulling with a guessing game on what features work on what phones: http://www.apple.com/ios/feature-availability/

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.

> 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.

What about the people upgrading phones?

As of today, I don't know of any Apple Maps alternatives in the iOS App Store. And switching a mobile platform is neither trivial nor a short-term perspective … I hope Google is busy worki on its own Maps app for iOS — for the time being, Google Maps in Mobile Safari has to do it for me.

There are 100s of navigation apps and almost all have maps, directions, gps integration.

And can be set as the default app so when I click on a location, it takes me to that location without forcing me to jump through hoops in copying the text, and then clicking over and eventually pasting it? You know, like it was in iOS5?


That is not a "map" thing that's an IOS thing. If you want to change default applications, better switch to android.

Sorry, you missed the point. Maps has changed. Rather than add a new app in called "Directions" or some such, they dramatically changed the default behavior by removing functionality people depended on. And keep in mind, Apple has a long history of having multiple applications that share the same zone of responsibility.

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.

You got it.

Wow, that was easy. I have a bridge to sell you.

Or jailbreak, from what I understand.

Do you have a single recommendation for a native Google Maps replacement?

just use maps.google.com in mobile safari, it works just as well as the old app.


Yes there are other maps programs available for iOS - the Google Maps app that comes with iOS 4 and 5 is very capable.

That app has been replaced with the Apple Maps. Google maps is only available via the browser in iOS6 (at this time).

> does apple have a maps program on the android devices?

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.

iTunes is certainly going to ask people to upgrade without giving them a warning about the Maps downgrade!

talking of pass, you should checkout the new nokia maps on the lumia. It's f awesome!!!

It seems every comment you've made here in the past few days has been about Nokia's new device. Astroturfing or just a fan?

...but faked.



Jobs would have fired the whole Maps team, en masse.

Furiousness is a skill. Tim Cook falls short here.

Actually, Jobs would never have allowed Maps to be released in this state to begin with.

So… you two both personally knew SJ?

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?

At least they were functional, and it's not like they pushed ping and blocked every other social network from working on macs.

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.

What is equally sad is that people put up with this substandard implementation of a core smartphone functionality. That Nokia 920 looks more and more appealing at this point of time with Navteq maps an OIS enabled camera, the two most used functions on a smartphone.

If those two were the most important smartphone features, Nokia would have never have gotten to the trouble they're now in. They've had pretty much the best camera and navigation features ever since the circa 2007 N95.

So, camera and maps are clearly not the primary features influencing smartphone buyers.

The best navigation and camera did not work out for Nokia because many did not realiZe that it did. But hey, that seems to be changing.

The G4 Cube doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath. It was a work of art.

Except for the hairline cracking at the corners that happened to most of them.

I'm sorry, but the Cube is the single most important and consequential machine Apple ever made. Its design cues pervade everything from their flagship store to the individual keys on the keyboard on which I'm typing this. Nearly everything they've sold in decade-plus since bears the stamp of that glorious and utterly unprecedented machine. It's the entire Jobs/Ive aesthetic and philosophy in one box, a prototype for an entire company - one which has since grown into the most valuable one on the planet - and they SHIPPED it.

@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.

Sorry but I'm not buying that. I can see that squares with rounded corners are everywhere in apple's design. I don't think that comes from the Cube. It was just a result of this love for the rounded corner square.

This is strange. I've never been a Mac person. I've built and modded PCs since I was a teenager. I didn't really remember the Cube and have googled it just now.

(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.

Take a slice of that rubbish bin's midsection, and you have the Mac Mini. Tilt that Mac Mini on its side, perforate either end, then add some handles, and you've got the G5.

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.

Sweet lord, put the jug of juice down son.

Ive's work in plastics hasn't held up as well since the switch to metal and glass, but at the time it was a remarkable, groundbreaking example of industrial design. The next year, of course, they launched the titanium PowerBook that spearheaded that transition, though it would take about a decade for plastics to be phased out entirely.

All of those were relatively minor projects, and likely off Steve's radar, which is why he could only berate the teams after the release. But maps is a major part of any smartphone experience - everyone knows it. And Steve would definitely would have paid close attention to it, especially since it involved trying to outdo a competitor's product.

MobileMe was – and is, as iCloud! – a major corporate initiative. It touched almost every product Apple was working on at the time, affecting iOS, OS X and iTunes. It required significant capital investment in back-end infrastructure, and was announced by SJ himself and demoed by Shiller at the WWDC '08 keynote.

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.

merely blips on an otherwise uninterrupted upward trajectory.

I think it was the MobileMe team he humiliated and necked out of the door. Part of Apple lore.

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.

Source: http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/steve-jobs-mobile...

I know many people who were and are on that team, and am well familiar with the described meeting. That meeting doesn't change the fact that Apple shipped MobileMe while SJ was CEO. It was a bad product that had a horrendous launch; SJ could have delayed the launch or killed the product, but didn't.

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.

The one big difference here though is that it's very hard to tell if a cloud service is ready before you subject it to real traffic.

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.

At least MobileMe didn't replace some other awesome cloud functionality.

Oh Geez, are you for real?, "Jobs would never have". I can't be the only one to notice this ridiculous fanboy behavior.

I would agree with this...there were a lot of features that "cooked" for a long time under the wraps. Better to keep the iOS 5 maps app going for one more iteration while Apple Maps simmered for a bit longer.

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.

I wouldn't go as far as blaming the Maps team for this. It's not their fault they haven't had YEARS to catch up with Google.

It looks like a pretty good product to me. I think it's silly they have forced it onto people already but I wouldn't say it's bad. Just not as good as the competition yet.

>Microsoft got so such pass with WP7 and that was an entirely new OS/platform!

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.


Nokia acquired Navteq, which was already a top player in the mapping space. For about a year, their horrible S60-based models were selling well because they all had free high-quality mapping apps with turn-by-turn navigation and TomTom directors were shitting their pants.

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.

>Google basically stopped improving Maps on iOS

incorrect: maps was an apple app that use google maps service. So it was apple that stopped improving maps on Ios

It's fair to say Apple couldn't improve it without help from Google. It's not like they could just switch to the officially-published API and hope Google would let through all the traffic.

Apple and Google had an agreement in place. It was apple that chose not to continue this agreement. Speculation: I find it hard to believe from a business perspective that Google would want to do anything to harm this relationship as the map and map search provider on the ios platform. Being the default service for maps on ios is a win for google. Even if they release an app at this point, they aren't the default which is a step backwards.

There is no way that it was a unilateral decision by either company. Clearly there was some offer (e.g. more money, dropping patent lawsuits against Android) that Google would have been happy with. Or some terms that Apple would have been happy with (e.g. lower cost, access to more API features). It's not either party's fault alone that they couldn't agree about the terms.

Don't forget that Apple and Google is currently playing in the same game, smartphones and tablets. Probably a strategic move by Apple.

Strategic, perhaps, but terrible nonetheless.

Or it could have been a strategic move by Google knowing the work that needs to be done, and that getting up to speed on maps would take Apple years.

this would be the worst strategy ever. So instead of becoming the major search for web and places/location on what would be close to 90% of the worlds smart phones, they instead would give up all the data and being the default search on the ios platform. Theres no way people are going to abandon ios over a sub par maps app.

It was apple that chose not to continue this agreement.

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.

from a business standpoint. Google would be the #1 search for browser and places/location on the top two mobile platforms globally equaling to over 90% of the smartphone searches. What possible reason would there be for google to not want to be the default places/location search on the ios platform ?

Depends on what the terms of the Apple-Google agreement were. It's possible it did not include the additional features.

correct it is speculation, but from a business perspective I wouldn't see it as beneficial for Google for them to not allow apple (at one time the most popular smart phone worldwide) additional features upon request. Googles bread and butter is search and data collection. But yes there could possibly be a reason.

Agreed, but we know how poisonous the relationship became after they started warring. It's possible that reasonable contract extensions and expansions became mired in politics.

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.

It's not really fair to qualify Apple's entire product as "falling 5 years behind" based on one app. The phone is far more polished in virtually every other way. Maps is important, other things are important too.

I meant to say "in the mapping space". The post originally had a rant about the inevitable full phone/GPS integration being delayed because of these silly corporate squabbles, but I removed it at the last minute.

I'm surprised by how poor this Nokia comparison is. Maybe it highlights the difference of that company vs Apple or Google.

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!

> 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. :)

Indeed it is a fairly Universal attitude that one's own geographical Focus is Paramount.

I see what you did there.

Personally, I'd quite like it to work in places that I'm going to travel to as well.

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.

> Apple and Google frequently get more free passes compared to Microsoft

Microsoft used up their free passes almost 20 years ago now.

But you can't give them a pass here, the premium value that Apple sells is the amazing experience out of the box. How many years has it been since they got something wrong just out of the box?

[No apple-hater, but postponing upgrading iOS indefinitely]

Or getting a phone with better mapping GS III or Nokia 920

I also wonder how common these problems are. I live in San Diego and everything looks pretty-good to me. It renders my house in 3D and the turn-by-turn navigation worked great. There are obviously problems in some places, but so-far-so-good here.

I'm not surprised that results in California are great. This seems like a great example of why having the majority of your testers in one geographical location is not always a good thing.

I live in São Paulo, Brazil. The maps work well here. I simulated a trip to another city like I did with Google Maps a few months ago and the navigation is just as good.

Tourists and expats are going to have issues in some countries, take for example Thailand.


Google Maps has street names in both Thai and English, whereas Apple Maps only has Thai.

You can turn off this feature in Settings -> Maps. Just turn on "Always English" nob.

Edit: Just tested. This does not work for street names. Sorry.

In Switzerland, the information density is much lower in comparison to Google Maps and much of the still available information is wrong or out-dated. Outside rural areas, Apple Maps mostly shows a vast emptiness instead of mountain peaks, hiking trails etc.

There's definitely room for a lot of improvement …

I live in the Netherlands and it seems to work like a charm so far. the whole upheaval sounds like an internet pile-on to me.

After communication, maps are the second most important application on a smartphone for a lot of people. If those maps go from being reliable to being wildly wrong -- which, it seems apparent, has been the experience of a number of people -- then you can hardly expect them to not be upset.

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.

" If those maps go from being reliable to being wildly wrong -- which, it seems apparent, has been the experience of a number of people -- then you can hardly expect them to not be upset."

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.

The bits that have been 'wildly wrong' so far seems to be the business integration (which is probably also the most easily corrected). I wonder if the people who went to the effort of posting screenshots with "lolz, this business should be here" actually reported where the location should have been using the Report Problem button on the location pin.

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.

Tijs, come to NY some time to see how bad it can get. :-)

Planning to, but i bet they've fixed it by the time i'll get there.

See: Clement Valla, Postcards from Google Earth, http://clementvalla.com/category/work/postcards/

I don't think Google has 3D view at all. Those 3D maps were created by a different company whom Apple recently acquired. You can probably find the same errors from here as well, http://maps.nokia.com/webgl/

Google certainly has 3D view. It's on my iPad with Google Earth. They also have the more useful non-textured 3D maps in Google Maps for Android which is a lot more smooth (way less data transfer and being vector it's scalable) and you can even use them offline.


Yes, indeed http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6Douyfa7l8

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.

Google has had 3D buildings for years. That video is only the latest in a long series of improvements on this feature. The level of detail in that video far exceeds what others are doing, but it's still rolling out throughout this year.

They actually have textures if you enable satellite imaging. They just also do the Mirror's Edge rendering of the city.

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.

That level of detail in elevation data generally requires LIDAR and that definitely doesn't exist for all municipalities, and is pretty expensive where it does.

The 3D view mess-ups are fun to look at but are the most understandable and least unique to Apple. It's not hard to find messed up 3D in Google as well.

You can get elevation data for North America from USGS: http://ned.usgs.gov/

It is either the classic problem of floating point precision or just data a data collection error. See my other answer.

I'm pretty sure some (if not most) of these problems are just polygonization issues i.e. when converting the image based approximation point cloud to polygons at a low level of detail. Those weird zigzag lines are clearly sign of incorrect topology / low polygon density; polygon edges should follow the curvature of the road, not go against it.

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