Police in Australia slammed Apple’s (AAPL) iOS Maps application late last year when it guided motorists to the middle of a massive national park and left them for dead. They called the inaccuracies in Apple’s mapping app “a potentially life threatening issue” and advised motorists to avoid using the iPhone app completely. Though some progress has been made since then, authorities in Australia are once again blaming a serious snafu on Apple’s much-maligned mapping solution. More →
Apple has had quite a bumpy car ride so far with its mapping product. That all ends in just a couple hours, however, because late Wednesday evening Google is planning on bringing Maps back to iOS with the release of the company’s own software. AllThingsD is reporting that Google’s app will be available for download in the App Store shortly, and we’ll provide some initial thoughts on it soon after. More →
Apple’s (AAPL) iOS Maps application is terrible. We all know it. The service is so bad that CEO Tim Cook issued a public apology shortly after it launched, and vowed the company would right the situation as soon as possible. It has only been a few months since Apple launched its Google Maps replacement and while that’s not much time to overhaul such a massive undertaking, the company probably wishes it could have improved the service before Australian authorities issued a public warning saying Apple Maps is so bad, it might kill you. More →
Apple (AAPL) has just announced (good timing?) two major announcements to the company’s roster — Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iOS will be leaving the company in the Spring. This is on the heels of Apple’s bad publicity over Maps as well as some other software-related skirmishes. Apple’s head of retail John Browett, who was widely panned when Apple announced his hire, is also leaving Apple. Eddy Cue will take over responsibility of Apple’s Maps and Siri, combining all online services into one group, and Craig Federighi will take over both iOS and OS X software. Apple’s press release follows below.
The Taiwanese government has requested that Apple (AAPL) camouflage satellite images of its “$1.4 billion early warning radar station that can detect aircraft and missiles coming from as far as western China” located near the Hsinchu Air Bas, the Associated Press reports. Melting bridges and road grievances aside, Apple’s new Maps app in iOS 6 doesn’t use low-resolution satellite images to blur out top-secret prisons or bases, thus putting many secure locations in jeopardy. Taiwanese Defense Ministry spokesman David Lo told the AP that Apple should take a page from Google’s (GOOG) own Google Maps where sensitive facilities are blurred upon request. Apple has moved quickly to comply with Taiwan’s request and its app now shows obscured imagery over the Hsinchu Air Base.
By now, everyone and their mother has heard about how Apple (AAPL) really messed up with its Maps app in iOS 6. And most users have either accepted the fact that a fix isn’t coming anytime soon or have downloaded alternatives. But now MacRumors has learned that Apple is creating a program to dedicate certain retail store staff to submit corrections and improvements for inaccurate mapping in their local areas.
If the New York Times’ report from Tuesday is accurate, a native Google (GOOG) Maps app for iOS might not be released until the end of the year. For the time being, it would appear iOS 6 users can either switch to Android, deal with the issues until Apple fixes them or visit Google’s mobile Maps website for their mapping needs. The Web-based solution is not ideal and it’s much slower than a dedicated app, but using Google’s Maps website in Safari or any Web browser is still more accurate than Apple’s hot new mess. It just doesn’t have Street View, Google’s huge database of stitched panoramas taken from camera-outfitted cars. According to a New York Times published on Thursday, however, Google will update its mobile Maps website with Street View within two weeks, bringing iOS users an even more robust alternative to the widely criticized Apple Maps app. More →
Apple’s (AAPL) iOS 6 Maps app is a big mess. Hot off news that Apple had listed six new job positions for developers to help fix its new Maps app, TechCrunch has learned from an inside source that the company is already hiring former Google (GOOG) Maps employees. Its source claims that many ex-Google Maps workers are being snapped up by Apple as their contracts end and Google’s ambitions turn away from Street View and turn-by-turn navigation to indoor mapping. More →
Apple has been working on an in-house mapping solution for a few years, and it appears as if the company is finally ready to release a new Maps app for iOS, sidestepping Google’s mapping data for its own. BGR has obtained exclusive information and photos of parts of Apple’s new Maps app from a trusted source, and the app features a refreshed user interface including a brand new navigation bar. This bar, we’re told, is silver instead of blue. Since the current Maps app follows the standard blue iOS color scheme, we think it’s possible Apple might shift toward a silver color theme in iOS 6 like on the iPad.
The iPhone version of Maps has a floating locate me button (it sounds very similar to Android’s Google Maps app) in the bottom left corner. To access 3D mode, which will make use of Apple’s C3 Technologies acquisition, you have to peel back the lower right corner of Maps just like the current version and enable 3D mode. Once enabled, you can switch in and out of 3D mode by tapping a 3D icon in the lower left corner. A photo of this feature can be seen in our gallery.
Apple is now putting the finishing touches on its 3D mapping functionality, and it is currently being tested in build 10A3XX of iOS 6.
Apple has been using Google Maps since it launched the iPhone in 2007. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt even joined Steve Jobs on the stage during the handset’s announcement. The two companies’ relationship has dwindled, however, with the success of Google’s own Android mobile operating system that competes directly with the iPhone. A new report from 9To5Mac suggests that the next major version of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 6, will feature an in-house maps application, ending the Cupertino-based company’s reliance on Google Maps. According to the website’s anonymous sources, the application is said to be similar to iOS’s current Google Maps program, however it was described as both cleaner and faster, and will deliver a more reliable experience and an enhanced 3D mode. Apple’s in-house service will reportedly be based on mapping technology it acquired from purchasing Placebase, C3 Technologies and Poly9. More →
Google has been ordered to pay €500,000 to Bottin Cartographes, a French company that filed a lawsuit against Google France after it began providing its free Google Maps services to customers. Google is also responsible for paying an additional €15,000 in fees. The court found Google “guilty of abusing the dominant position of its Google Maps application,” Economic Times said Thursday. ”We proved the illegality of [Google's] strategy to remove its competitors… the court recognized the unfair and abusive character of the methods used and allocated Bottin Cartographes all it claimed,” Botton Cartographes lawyer Jean-David Scemmama said. “This is the first time Google has been convicted for its Google Maps application.” Google said it will appeal the decision. “We remain convinced that a free high-quality mapping tool is beneficial for both Internet users and websites,” a Google spokesperson said. “There remains competition in this sector for us, both in France and internationally.” Google was also fined €100,000 in France last year after a court found it guilty of collecting private information for the Street View feature of Google Maps.
Beginning January 1st, Google will start charging a fee to developers and websites that frequently access its Google Maps API service, BBC reported recently. Developers will apparently be charged $4 for every 1,000 views after Google Maps is accessed more than 25,000 times in a single 24-hour period. BBC said Google expects the changes will only affect 0.35% of its user base. “We understand that the introduction of these limits may be concerning,” Google Maps product manager Thor Mitchell said. “However, with the continued growth in adoption of the Maps API, we need to secure its long-term future by ensuring that even when used by the highest-volume for-profit sites, the service remains viable.” More →
Apple has big plans for location services according to a new job listing posted by the Cupertino, California-based company. In a listing for a new “OS QA Location Engineer,” Apple said the candidate will “join a dynamic team responsible for qualifying the latest iOS products, working on exciting new features for iOS location services.” The job also requires “familiarity with GPS, A-GPS, LBS, or navigation algorithms” and “experience with cellular technologies.” Apple has already said that it wants to “radically improve” its current iOS Maps application, which we would argue certainly needs an update, so it is possible the job could be on that team. In addition, Apple included a new location-based Reminders application inside iOS 5, which will launch to the public in the fall. Perhaps the company has similar ideas in store. More →