Thursday, September 20, 2012

Apple Maps Making A Sharp Wrong Turn



It's not every day I get to poke fun at Cupertino hardware giant Apple, but when the opportunity presents itself, I jump on it. They are typically flawless in their moves. When they tell the buying public they need something, they jump on it. People know that Apple has produced a clean, simple way to be a geek in this modern age. I also mean no disrespect to my friends that favor the iPhone, but I am a constant devil's advocate.

As I mentioned in a prior post, a lot is hinging on this iPhone release. Naturally it'll sell a bazillion copies, but will their software improvements and overall attitude eventually sour the sheepish masses? It just takes little nuances or glitches to start turning people off altogether and Apple may have made their first post Jobs major faux pas.

With the update to iOS6, Google Maps and YouTube were removed as native apps. This year, deals between Google and Apple to provide Maps natively on the iPhone ended. It is also very well known that Apple is continuing their thermonuclear war on Google at Steve Jobs request. Now Google is going to provide their Maps (and YouTube) applications over the Appstore. It's even believed the app has been submitted, but with all iPhone applications, users have to wait for approval from on high before it can be added to their market place.

It's coming right at me!
What Apple, and perhaps even Google did not predict was the abject failure of the initial Maps release on iOS 6. There are image errors, distortions, and in many places, the markers are not only off, they're completely off the chart. There are even sites that mock the new Maps application. Hardened iPhone fanboys (Gruber) are even poo pooing this evolution. Google, who also had similar issues in the beginning, has had the advantage of time to improve their maps and now Apple is left in that position of quickly trying to clean up a sub par product.

Even if you look at the new iOS 6 Maps icon, you see a pin on what is actually De Anza Boulevard in Cupertino. That little circle next to the pin is actually One Infinite Loop, Apple's headquarters. The icon appears to tell you to take a left onto I 280. But actually doing so would actually involve great skill. Not only would a driver need to make an illegal left turn, he or she would need to cross the highway and incoming traffic (not an intersection), and jump off of North De Anza Boulevard falling about 20 feet onto I-280 going westbound. I would think that someone in Cupertino would have at least drawn a better application, maybe have it continuing north on 280 until one gets to the In and Out Burger, at least!

Of course I find humor in all of this. I find quiet pleasure in people yearning to put Google Maps on their iPhones. I also feel that people are starting to realize that Apple is trying too hard and goes too far in controlling their mobile experience. But more than the point that this application was not ready yet. We see some of the polish coming off of this now monopoly. This app will improve and give Google Maps or any other company that goes into the mobile mapping business a run for their money, but we better believe there are a countable number of people considering a switch this week.

Maybe they'll actually Think Different next time. Maybe they'll look into phones that just work.