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Major Backlash Looms For Apple's New Maps App 466

Hugh Pickens writes "Michael DeGusta writes that Apple's new Maps app is the very first item on their list of major new features in iOS 6, but for many iPhone and iPad users around the world Apple's new maps are going to be a major disappointment as the Transit function will be lost in 51 countries, the Traffic function will be lost in 24 countries, and the Street View function will be lost in 41 countries. 'In total, 63 countries with a combined population of 4.5 billion people will be without one or more of these features they previously had in iOS,' writes DeGusta. 'Apple is risking upsetting 65% of the world's population, seemingly without much greater purpose than speeding the removal of their rival Google from iOS. Few consumers care about such battles though, nor should they have to.' The biggest losers will be Brazil, India, Taiwan, and Thailand (population: 1.5 billion) which overnight will go from being countries with every maps feature (transit, traffic, and street view) to countries with none of those features, nor any of the new features, flyover and turn-by-turn directions. Apple's maps are clearly behind in some key areas, but they will presumably continue to improve over time. Google has committed to making their maps available everywhere, so it seems likely Google will release their own iOS maps app soon, as they did with YouTube, which has similarly been removed from iOS 6." But what percentage of people who actually buy iPhones lost these features?
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Major Backlash Looms For Apple's New Maps App

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  • by danomac ( 1032160 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:04PM (#41388135)

    Most of their customers will grumble about it, and guess what? They'll still buy the next iPhone. Apple's marketing really helps them here.

    • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:18PM (#41388417) Homepage Journal

      OTOH, Google Maps on the Blackberry was the one killer app that made me go Android as opposed to, say, a Nokia N800. It's probably the one thing that has had the most profound impact on my life and travels... now I rarely / barely plan anymore... I just pop out the map and let it tell me where to go to explore.

      Though I'm a bit pissed that Google replaced Yelp ratings with Zagat. Zagat puts way too much emphasis on decor over food quality. Maybe they're a bit more consistent, but I was more interested in what the locals thought. If a small town on the outskirts of a national forest I was exploring on the backroads really thought their Burger King was the best place to eat, then I'd know to push on.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Apple's marketing really helps them here.

      That must be it, because their actual hardware and software are garish, steaming piles compared to the competition.

    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      they will be able to still get google maps on the iphone as well...?

    • by Karlt1 ( 231423 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:38PM (#41388759)

      It's strange that after a decade, if the only thing that Apple had going for it was marketing, that no one else has figured out how to market a product......

      • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @01:22PM (#41389501) Journal
        They don't just have marketing. They also have products that suck marginally less than their competitors. They also make different bad UI decisions, so once you're used to one usability disaster, moving to the competitor's usability disaster is even harder.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by camperdave ( 969942 )

          They don't just have marketing. They also have products that suck marginally less than their competitors.

          Actually, no. That's the beauty of marketing. You can have products that suck MORE, and not just marginally, than your competitors, and still turn a profit. With good marketing, a customer will BELIEVE they have $The_Best$, even though objectively it ain't so.

          • by Goth Biker Babe ( 311502 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @04:30PM (#41392031) Homepage Journal

            What I find incredible is the arrogance of commenters like this who think they're the only ones immune and who have seen the light.

            I don't give a shit about marketing. I trust marketing people as much as the next liar. I went around, tried devices, and bought an iPhone because I liked what it did. Just that. I recently bought a Google Galaxy Nexus as a new phone. Its was a waste of money. Not because its bad. Just because I don't get on with it and prefer my iPhone. BTW I bought both of them out of contract and they cost the same.

            I'm not buying an iPhone 5 because the 4 does everything I need it to do. I wont be buying another Android phone because they don't work how I like and the 4 does everything I need it to use.

            One day the hardware will fail and I'll have to make a decision. When that day comes I'll go and assessed the hardware again. There are people who will buy stuff just because its Apple just as there are people who wont buy stuff just because its Apple. But there are also a lot of intelligent individuals who have compared, contrasted and bought Apple because the like them. Oh and different people have different priorities and they may not be the same as yours so don't judge them based on your requirements.

      • by tooyoung ( 853621 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @01:44PM (#41389881)
        Also odd that people would repeatedly buy products for a decade that lack what they want, and that is all accomplished through the magic of marketing. Maybe this perception is actually wrong and people evaluate whether they like a product and make repeat purchases based on that decision. Maybe perception of a product is different from a hardware spec and a feature list.
        • by narcc ( 412956 )

          Also odd that people would repeatedly buy products for a decade that lack what they want, and that is all accomplished through the magic of marketing.

          Don't be silly. Of course it's all due to marketing!

          See, the general consensus is that the iPhone is "the best one" and if their phone can't do x, y, or z, they automatically assume that no competing offering can do x, y and z.

          Consumers as a whole are stupid, stupid, sheep.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kthreadd ( 1558445 )

      Most of their customers will grumble about it, and guess what? They'll still buy the next iPhone. Apple's marketing really helps them here.

      And unlike most Android phones even as old as three year old iPhones get the update.

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Some people really hate that the iphone can't stream movies to a TV. I don't care about that, so it is not an issue. I am in the US, so i assume that I will have the same data. I will tell you the traffic data on google is crap, so when I want such data I go to the local web site that is dedicated to my city. This 'crowdsourcing' of traffic may be better for me on a day by day basis, as there must be a lot of phones around here as there are like 5 Apple stores I can get to within 30 minutes.

      This is li

    • by curunir ( 98273 ) * on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @01:35PM (#41389727) Homepage Journal

      As an iOS user, I'm actually happy with the iOS 6 situation. The Google maps on iOS lags behind the version in Android because it's part of the core OS and only gets updated during OS upgrades. As a third-party app, Google will be free to update Maps more often.

      The only way that the new development becomes a negative is if either Apple pulls App Store shenanigans with Google's Maps app or if Google doesn't put in the effort to keep the app current. Otherwise, this is a huge win for iOS users...we get an app that sits idle most of the time but has the cool flyover feature and we get a more current version of Google Maps.

  • by Tommy Bologna ( 2431404 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:06PM (#41388169)
    Hubris will lead to Apple's ultimate downfall.
    • Now that the LHC has located the Higgs boson, which gives particles their mass, scientists have moved on to looking for the field that gives entities karma. The search is made more difficult by the fact that karma can only be observed in the hindsight of idealists, in the absence of a strong regulation force. In an effort to reduce the regulation force's effects on the experiment, the scientists have asked all bureaucrats to vacate the laboratory premises. Unfortunately, funding for the project ran out shor

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by iluvcapra ( 782887 )

      On the score of "hubris," to be fair we don't know exactly why Google Maps isn't preloaded on iOS 6. Apple's license to include Google Maps expires this year, and maybe Google wanted gobs more money, or they wanted user information, or if Google just decided to not renew it, full stop. As the Alibaba/Aliyun saga attests, Google's happy to shut down competing products that rely on their infrastructure if they aren't strategic, or as Google puts it, "compatible."

      The Google Maps API ain't free, as in beer or

  • by drunkle j ( 824263 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:07PM (#41388193)

    Umm, doesn't this only affect those who voluntarily upgrade to iOS6 or the iPhone5? It surely is annoying, but at least they're not pulling a sony (e.g. upgrade-to-iOS6-or-you-can't-use-apps kind of update).

    • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:10PM (#41388243) Homepage

      Yep, the upgrade isn't mandatory. Also, the Google Maps website seems to work fine on iOS 6, so you're not really losing it. However, the website will never perform as well as a native app so hopefully Google will have one for us soon.

      • Indeed. I won't be upgrading my iPhone 4 until I'm sure that Google has an app in place. I do not feel that I should be caught in Apple's shifting allegiances.

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )
        Performance issues aside, the google maps website doesn't even have all of the features that the native map application does. I agree, hopefully Google will have one for us soon... and even more hopefully, Apple won't just turn around and deny them on the basis that it "duplicates internal functionality" (it doesn't anyways, Google maps does plenty of stuff that Apple maps doesn't currently do and probably never will, which is why I'm personally quite upset about this move). Although Apple would be bet
    • I highly doubt that Apple's going to give people lots of warning about why you might *not* want to upgrade.

      And they still can't make it as obnoxious as what HP did when they pulled Google Maps in WebOS (which was one of the big selling features of the original Palm Pre) -- it tells you that Google Maps is off, and you have to download the new Maps program. Luckily, it has over the air updates ... so you press a few buttons wait 5-10 minutes, then go and use the inferior product. (no, when I search for 'ga

  • by PeanutButterBreath ( 1224570 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:09PM (#41388227)

    I applaud Apple for once again holding the line on features that are simply not ready for prime time. Better to have nothing at all than something that is not invented by Apple.

  • When did Thailand become the world's largest country by population?

    • Brazil +India + Taiwan + Thailand = 1.5 billion population 1.5 billion population - Brazil - India - Taiwan = 70 million population That's correct for Thailand population.
  • With their great maps, up-and-coming location services as well as their brand presence in those aforementioned emerging markets.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:11PM (#41388257)

    Just download and add Google Maps back. Surely people (even Apple users) can figure out how to do that.

    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      Where, exactly, do you propose that an iOS6 user download this alleged Google Maps app from?
  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:14PM (#41388313) Homepage

    This time you'd better live down to the expectations of technology pundits.

    They're getting really tired of you succeeding despite their most dire prognostications.

    An obviously brainwashed Apple zealot

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by na1led ( 1030470 )
      Apple has turned into a Religion. It makes no sense, but people still believe in it.
  • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi&evcircuits,com> on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:14PM (#41388335) Homepage

    What kind of tech journalism has emerged lately? It seems like every other story on Slashdot I'm yelling at the journalism and I'm not even a journalist.

    a) iPhone's never had turn-by-turn direction built-in, this is a new feature which the Google Maps app never had.
    b) iPhone's used to have Google Maps app built-in, this will simply be released by Google for free. A 1 minute workaround which most if not all iPhone users are already familiar with. Apple used to have a contract to build-in Google apps, they don't anymore for whatever reason so they rolled a better solution themselves.
    c) Apple is not preventing Google or anyone else to continue using the Google Maps features. It still works in the Safari browser including current location through HTML5.

    This is yet another guy trolling for page views about things that everyone already knew months ago and nobody complained because it's not a big deal. I don't know why /. is enabling such people.

    • by Cinder6 ( 894572 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:22PM (#41388485)

      The article also acts as though every single iOS user took advantage of those features. For myself, I didn't even know that street view was on the thing until I heard some people complaining about its removal. Why? Because it was a feature I never found myself needing, and thus never checked to see if it had. Same with transit and bike routes. For me, iOS6 maps is a straight upgrade, because we *finally* get turn-by-turn navigation, and it works really well (running the GM).

      Even if they were features you used, has you covered. It looks like it has all the features mentioned in the article. And I do not doubt Google will release a maps app, just like they released a Youtube app.

      • Remember when Google first put their turn-by-turn on Android 3 years ago, and said they'd be bringing it to iOS too at an unspecified future time?

        Isn't it funny that no one holds Google to that kind of thing, but wants to beat the crap out of Apple when they try to compete rather than eat a competitor's shit?

    • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnup . n et> on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:24PM (#41388511) Homepage

      Apple used to have a contract to build-in Google apps, they don't anymore for whatever reason so they rolled a better solution themselves.

      If by "better" you mean "worse"... Here's some screenshots someone did comparing the Apple map with the Google map for his neighbourhood in London [].

      • Providing supporting links in an Apple related story is considered flamebait.

      • Worse... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @01:30PM (#41389627) Homepage

        Yes, Apple omitting a London Tube station from a map of London is kind of a killer fail. The images show the user about 100m from a Central Line tube station, but Apple is going to make him walk about a mile to another station.

        Is turn-by-turn navigation that important in a handheld device? That's more of a feature for a car-mounted device. You shouldn't be looking at a smartphone while driving, anyway.

    • a) iPhone's never had turn-by-turn direction built-in, this is a new feature which the Google Maps app never had.

      WTF? The iPhone was missing a major feature which Android has had for over two years, and which my regular phone has had since 2004? Navigation was one of my reasons for upgrading to a smartphone - so I wouldn't have to pay for a dedicated in-car GPS and map updates, and I was tired of squinting at a map on a 1.5" screen.

      Wait a sec. Double-WTF? You mean all those in-car stands and dash mo

      • From the GP post you quoted:

        iPhone's never had turn-by-turn direction built-in

        (emphasis added)

        And the reason for this was licensing terms with Google which stipulated Apple could not include turn-by-turn using Google's map service []:

        Google couldn't include turn-by-turn directions on Android phones until it had control of its own mapping database. The companies that provide databases wouldn't let Google do it, because it was a threat to their business.

        Likewise, when Apple wanted to get access to the data to do its own thing with maps, Google was equally difficult.

        3rd party GPS and turn-by-turn on iOS has been available for years, even before the iPhone gained built-in GPS capabilities (an external GPS antenna was supplied by the bigger GPS app providers).

  • by Jerslan ( 1088525 ) * on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:16PM (#41388353)
    ... than being dependent on their biggest competitor.

    If they had waited until they had *all* the features in *all* countries to roll it out it could mean several more years of Google Maps, which had a severely limited API on the iPhone. The new maps app may be limited, but it's also far more extensible. IIRC they added the ability for an app to register as a data-source for transit or bike paths or walking directions. That's something you couldn't do with the old API. This allows cities and/or transit companies to make their own apps that can account for train/bus schedule a lot more reliably. Maps have turned out to be a critical feature of Mobile OS's. Why wouldn't Apple want to have more direct control over what the Maps in their OS can and can't do?
  • Maps app? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:16PM (#41388361) Journal

    Only a sap would grapple with apple's map app. It's a trap.

  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:19PM (#41388435)
    Maybe I'm a bit simplistic on this but what is stopping iOS users from downloading the app they want. My impression is that you'll be able to get Google Maps as a separate app if you want it. Apple has changed the backend data for their application. For some it's better; for some it's worse. As for YouTube, Apple doesn't want to maintain a YouTube app and so it will no longer be available by default. What's stopping others from making such an app? People complain about the walled-garden but then the complain when given more choice.
  • The best thing about TFA is that someone actually took the time to sit down and calculate all of that, purely for the sake of hyperbole.


  • turn-by-turn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by feldsteins ( 313201 ) <> on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:22PM (#41388473) Homepage

    Why is Apple always the villain around here? Remember that one time when Google implemented turn-by-turn directions for iOS maps app? Yeah, me neither. Besides, I trust Apple more. With them, I'm the customer. With Goolge I'm the product...with my personal information being sold to advertisers. Google already reads my email, knows my web searches, sees my RSS feeds and more. I want them also knowing where I go?

    • Re:turn-by-turn (Score:4, Interesting)

      by coolmoose25 ( 1057210 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:55PM (#41389055)
      I'm SOOOO tired of this "customer" vs. "product" false dichotomy. I'm one of Google's customers. They service me and I pay them by using their service and allow them to target me with unobtrusive ads. Apple, OTOH, pays lip service to it's "customers" by hyping the fact that they now offer a phone that can get 4g service, which I've had for almost 2 years now. They still make money off of advertising, making me a "product" in your eyes, but better still, they charge you to buy their hardware, and their software, at exorbitant prices across the board compared to the other alternatives. They innovate by rounding the corners off their devices.

      But back to the main point, when did I become the product just because a service is provided to me free of charge via an advertising model? Does this mean that I'm also a Slashdot product? Am I also a Wolfram Alpha product? Am I a product of the landowner who puts up a billboard next to the freeway I drive down?

      Jeez louise, get a grip man. You already sold your soul to Google... does it really matter if they know where you go? They'll probably do something really evil, like put up an ad for a BBQ place that you didn't know was there, but that you'd really like to check out.
      • "when did I become the product just because a service is provided to me free of charge via an advertising model"

        Follow the money. "Products" are things that are sold, "customers" are the people/entities that buy them. So for instance...

        You buy an iPhone by giving money to Apple. That means you are the customer and the iPhone is the product.

        You use Google, who sells your information to 3rd parties. That means the ad companies are the customers and you are the product.

        Got it?

        "Does this mean that I'm also a Sl

  • sensationalism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by th1nk ( 575552 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:22PM (#41388475)
    "Apple is risking upsetting 65% of the world's population"

    Are you fucking kidding me?
  • Thank Dog! (Score:4, Funny)

    by macbeth66 ( 204889 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:23PM (#41388495)

    I am taking Friday off and plan to disconnect myself from the world for the weekend. Maybe this whole iPhone silliness will have blown over by Monday.

  • by ugen ( 93902 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:32PM (#41388617)

    Was Google banned from Appstore? If not, their mapping app will be (if not already) available as a free download for all.

    Google stands to lose more in the long run than Apple from this. While I appreciated being able to use public transportation schedules in Bangkok and Hong Kong on my iPhone, that's a small convenience. At the same time having my location, movements and destinations sent to Google in exchange for this convenience is not particularly desirable. I went along with this for the lack of reasonable choice.

    Now that a different mapping solution is available, my location will "only" be sent to Apple and their partners. As long as they don't sell this information to Google (that's what competition is good for) this is one less element of comprehensive profile on me that Google can build.

    As far as features go, I am sure in time Apple's own maps will get public transportation info for other countries.

    BTW, Google public transportation info was off quite a bit (both in US and elsewhere) making it sometimes less than useful. Hope Apple does better. As far as traffic goes, in my experience Google is wrong more often than not (other than generally painting everything yellow-red during rush hour, which is self-evident). They apparently use returned data from mapping apps on mobile devices to gauge traffic conditions (here, another reason they need app on iPhone) I stopped using their traffic information a while ago.

    Disclaimer: I don't *like* any large enterprise or product. I use iPhone because it best fits my requirements for mobile device. I am also a Windows and Mac user, and develop software for Windows, Mac, Linux, FreeBSD and a few other platforms. :) In case any of the "anti apple" crowd pull out their usual fanboy slogans.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:32PM (#41388623)

    One thing overlooked in the discussion of iOS6 maps, is that they have a fantastic feature not found on other platforms - the ability to locate applications that help you find routes by region, within the map itself.

    What that means is that an application devoted to helping you find your way around a specific city, can register a geofence around that city that applies to that app. When the user is in that city looking up things on the map and wants to find their way to something, they can all up alternate routes and what appears is basically an app store just for that region produced by finding all the apps that have that location inside the geofence they proclaimed.

    This will make it really helpful to find guides and other applications specifically tailored to a place without having to hunt across the whole apps store - and it helps the apps get discovered that might not have been otherwise.

  • That's fine. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:39PM (#41388773)
    They can do whatever they want with their Maps application, as long as they don't block Google from releasing their own. It's one thing to block other people's applications (such as browsers) because they provide insignificant functionality compared to what you already have. But this is a whole different matter. It's unacceptable to eliminate important functionality that you advertised and that people rely on. It's even worse if you do it because you have some childish pissing match with another company. Sony pulled this shit and paid a serious price for it (although IMO they haven't paid enough). I would hope that Apple learns from Sony's mistake.
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @12:41PM (#41388803) Homepage Journal

    Apple sues the earth for stealing their intellectual property of inventing 'geography'.

    • Apple sues the earth for stealing their intellectual property of inventing 'geography'.

      That's absurd! they'd sue the earth for patent infringement - it's entirely made of rounded corners*, after all.

      *Testimonies in the defense of Earth will be almost exclusively given by members of the Flat Earth Society.

  • by joelsanda ( 619660 ) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @02:14PM (#41390337) Homepage

    Apple is risking upsetting 65% of the world's population, seemingly without much greater purpose than speeding the removal of their rival Google from iOS

    What? Sixty-five percent of the world's population will be upset by the map application? Does 65% of the world's population have an iOS device or rely on one?

This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington