Full disclosure, maps where I live are fine. That doesn't help me when I travel though.
This is apparently how Apple says "Oops." Who's running the show over there, Horsebolt McStabledoor?
(Actually those ads were posted a couple of weeks before the press conference, but they went unremarked-upon until the explanation became obvious.)
One feature doesn't make a phone and many people don't want or need offline driving directions? When the hell am I offline and driving? I don't know about anyone else but in Canada, that's your best chance of getting a cell signal in a rural area. Find a road.
Someone at Apple is probably kicking themselves because they didn't start on this initiative a few years earlier.
Pulling out the dead guy card again: one generally would assume that Jobs would have been using this thing and playing with it to be sure it was ready. Did Cook? Or if not, whose job was it and why didn't it happen?
Apple releases a new iPhone every year and it comes with major-ish OS update. They can't just not ship and wait until it's perfect - there's too much money riding on this upgrade cycle.
At the same time, Apple dropped contract with Google way before iOS 6 was ready.
Since delaying iPhone 5/iOS 6 combo was out of the question and they didn't prepare for the plan B (i.e. shipping Google's maps) their only option was to ship their maps regardless of how shitty they are.
The data on the other hand is pretty terrible but the good thing is that can be cleaned up server side. There is a lot of data to fix though so it will take a considerable time.
Who says the 3D is bad? When you're looking in a city that has the 3D models, it's pretty great. If the problem is "not everyone has it" then that's a ridiculous goal. Gotta launch sometime.
Pretty bold to say "the best mapping program on any mobile platform".
Lets do some basic math. Lets say you pay a driver $10/hr to drive 8 hrs a day at an average speed of 35mph in the city. That is about 250 miles covered per driver, per day and $80. So you do that for 10 days and that is 2,500 miles for $800.
Now you build 10,000 cars with street view like capabilities, call it $40,000 per car, perhaps you get a car maker to help you perhaps not. that is 400M$ for cars, and 10,000 drivers is $8M for 10 days and 250 million miles. You haven't even spent close to a billion dollars and you've got street view like imagery for every major city on the planet in 10 days. Run this program for a year and you cover every road twice with your 10,000 drivers.
Its certainly doable by Apple if they choose to go that route.
Also, driving is the cheap part - structuring all the gathered data and images is a nontrivial task, you simply can't do it in a few months (as apple would need) if you don't have the know-how and software tools for this.
Apple has the money to do it no question. However it takes more than just money. On the data collection side there's designing, building and integrating the sensor system on the car. That has to be tested. Then it needs to be replicated many times. The data collected needs to be stored somewhere. Either locally on the car or in the cloud. Either way that has to be figured out. You need to hire drivers, protect yourself from liability etc. While all of the these pieces are doable they're non-trivial. Especially when you consider the number of people involved. And that's just collecting the data.
Now Apple has to process the data and make that available to the maps app. And there needs to be software written for the maps mobile apps. Perhaps desktop too. All that needs to be tested. This "presentation" side of the problem involves a bunch of people too.
So how long do you think it takes a company the size of Apple to accomplish all that? I'd set a lower bound of one year. So for 12 months Google maps still has street view over Apple and will probably improve it (especially if they know Apple is creating a competing product).
While money isn't an issue the amount of time, energy and other resources required to make a product as refined as Google street view is enormous. Can Apple do it? It probably comes down to leadership. Steve probably could have done it. I wonder if the current leadership can.
It took Google years to get Street View right, with massive amount of engineering talent and financial capital committed along the way.
12 months would be extremely challenging even for Apple. As for 10 days... well let's just say I'd be a bit unhappy, if ChuckMcM was my program manager :p
That said, if you had been unemployed for over a year and I said, I've got a really simple job for you that will last at least a year, you drive this car up and down every street in the town at the legal limit. I'll pay you $400/week with benefits. Probably pretty appealing to you.
Don't forget fuel charges! ~$40 per day (at 3 USD per gallon for a car that gives 20 miles per gallon).
Google have spent many years perfecting the collection & analysis of the data, Maps needs fixing yesterday.
1) "an average speed of 35mph in the city" is not going to happen. In Manhattan that's 15 MPH. In midtown Manhattan it's 1.7 MPH. So 10 MPH on average would be more realistic.
2) You forgot gas
3) You forgot tickets
4) You forgot car insurance
5) You forgot car maintenance
6) You forgot car accidents and the cost of replacement
7) You forgot tolls
8) You forgot lawsuit costs
9) You forgot parking costs (and time to drive from and to parking)
10) You forgot the costs of the hiring process (try hiring 10 drivers in 10 days)
11) You forgot the cost of routing of all these cars (you have to organize 10,000 cars somehow)
12) Your guess of $40,000/car for design, approval, production of a specialized car is way off.
13) You forgot server costs (stitching the images)
14) You forgot storage costs (storing, transferring) millions of photos.
15) You forgot IT and management costs to support all this shit. $8M will buy you a few executives in charge of this project.
16) Your estimate of $10/hr for the driver salary is way off (assuming it's just a driver, and not a trained technician). Average salary of a cab drive in NYC is $25/hr. Chicago - $17/hr. Los Angeles - $17.5/hr. That's not counting the benefits - health insurance, social security, etc.
We can make the numbers more accurate. Hell if Tim Cook hired me and gave me the budget for it we could knock this out in a couple of years. I'm sure there are at least half a dozen folks out there who could. The simple point remains though which is that you can solve this problem with money, and you can make the solution time arbitrarily short by scaling the money.
Getting good maps takes a lot of time, it will take years for Apple and they might never be as good as google at it. But competition is good for all as it raises the bar. It seems to have some interesting feature like telling you if a restaurant is open graphically.
Amazing how we've become so dependent on mobile maps.
Fix the cowshed after loosing cows.
It's actually Chinese (亡羊补牢 from 戰國策).
Chinese 망양보뢰 means that it is not too late to fix the cowshed after lost. Korean, however, shows the useless of the fixing activity. Later connotes the regret.
"TomTom's Lea Armstrong says users' experience is determined by the map it supplies and features added by handset makers and third-party software providers based on "their own vision and needs." In other words, don't blame us."
1. As declared by Our Man Jobs.