iOS 6 review: Apple (APPL) maps receive poor marks from users

(CNN) -- The Washington Monument towers above the National Mall in Washington, directly between the U.S. Capitol to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west.

But Apple seems to think it lies several hundred yards to the south, near the Potomac River.

The mistake appears to be one of many in Apple's new mobile maps, which replaced Google Maps as the default map application in iOS 6, the new operating system for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. Apple has faced a chorus of complaints since iOS 6 was made available for download Wednesday, and the griping will likely grow louder as people get their hands Friday on new iPhone 5s.

"What Apple has done with #iOS6 maps is like planning a mission to outer space and NOT TALKING TO NASA," tweeted tech-loving comedian Baratunde Thurston, a former digital director for The Onion.

Apple announced earlier this year it was replacing its mobile map software from Google with a new Apple-designed system. All iPhone and iPad users are now forced to use the new map system when they update their software or buy the iPhone 5, which will come pre-loaded with the maps.

 

But within minutes of the new software launch on Wednesday, iPhone users began to point out that a number of landmarks had been misplaced on Apple maps, incorrectly named and lost entirely.

Screenshots posted online appear to show a museum located underneath a river, while the map service seems to deny the existence of the English town Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare was born. Other users say a search for London directed them to London, Ontario, in Canada, instead of the British capital.

Many customers say they are upset that Apple has removed mentions of public transportation routes or stations from its new map service, a popular feature on the Google system which allowed users to see bus and train schedules at individual stations.

Ireland's Minister for Justice expressed concern that the new Apple maps identify a working farm in a residential area of suburban Dublin as an airport, a potential hazard for pilots.

The Apple's maps have already inspired a Tumblr feed, the ironically named "The Amazing iOS 6 Maps," filled with examples of mangled mapping. And some Twitter users pointed out the irony in that the new map system was unable to pinpoint an Apple store in Sydney, Australia, which it placed on the wrong side of the road.

Tech blogger and entrepreneur Anil Dash was especially critical of the new maps, which he called "pretty but dumb," and of Apple for releasing what he said was a flawed product.

"Apple made this maps change despite its shortcomings because they put their own priorities for corporate strategy ahead of user experience," he wrote. "That's a huge change for Apple in the post-iPod era, where they've built so much of their value by doing the hard work as a company so that things could be easy for users."

Apple did not respond to requests from comment from CNN. But in a statement to tech blog All Things D, the company preached patience.

"Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service," spokeswoman Trudy Miller said. "We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover, turn-by-turn navigation and Siri integration. We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better."

Some tech bloggers on Thursday were advising owners of older iPhones not to upgrade to iOS 6 because of the maps.

Meanwhile, Dutch satellite navigation company TomTom, which provided the data for the new map system, told CNN it is not responsible for the way the maps work.

The poor reception for Apple's maps don't appear to have dented the popularity of the iPhone 5, however. Apple announced on Monday that pre-orders of the phone topped 2 million in just 24 hours and that its initial supply batch for the phone sold out in just an hour.

 
™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


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