Unless you were suffering an Internet outage for the last two weeks in September, chances are you at least heard about the unprecedented scrutiny Apple faced over scrapping Google Maps for the default Maps app in iOS 6 for their own. To our surprise, Apple CEO Tim Cook went as far to apologize to consumers over failing to deliver "the best experience possible." Cook then suggested some third-party alternatives to Apple Maps.
Yesterday evening, Google's Eric Schmidt sat down with All Things D's Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. "Apple has learned that maps are hard," the former Google CEO said.
Despite adding some nifty features, such as improved offline mode and turn-by-turn navigation, the chief complaint from users when it comes to Apple Maps is how inaccurate it can be at times. Not to mention, cutting out Google removed some seriously important features, such as transit directions or Street View. CNET reported Tuesday that numerous developers warned Apple of how bad its new Maps were repeatedly throughout the developer beta. What one developer, who has three apps in App Store, told CNET is a rather condemning tale against the tech giant and how it blatantly ignored developer complaints:
"The mood amongst the developers seemed to be that the maps were so shockingly bad that reporting individual problems was futile. What was needed wasn't so much an interface for reporting a single point as incorrect, but for selecting an entire region and saying 'all of this -- it's wrong.'"
Schmidt told Mossberg and Swisher, "Apple should have kept our maps. They're better maps." He also explained that Google spent hundreds of millions of dollars in satellite, airplane and drive-by work to create what he described as "the best product in the industry." Few, I would imagine, could disagree with that statement. And many of iOS 6 users are cringing as they nod their heads to what Schmidt said.
If you're currently using an iOS device running iOS 6, you have likely noticed a few changes in the default Maps app. You have also likely discovered it's not nearly as detailed and it doesn't yield nearly as many answers when searching for various points of interest. And if you're in the more dense areas of some major U.S. cities, you've may have learned that locations might note appear at the right address.
A recent survey suggests that overall satisfaction with iOS 6 Maps isn't as low as some media outlets would have us believe, though. Electronista reports this morning that a SEO ranking provider conducted a survey with over 1,100 respondents. Only 200 of those, however, had used iOS 6 and Apple Maps. But what those 200 had to say might surprise you.
Nearly half of the 200 (50.7 percent) who had used iOS 6 and Apple Maps said the issues found with Apple Maps had not affected them. Another 23.3 percent called Apple Maps "good enough", and 17.2 said the new Maps were "annoying, but not a deal breaker." Only 5.6 percent of those dissatisfied with Apple Maps said the issues at hand "might affect" future buying decisions.
Sure, the sample size is excruciatingly small, but the results of the survey were interesting nonetheless. And this isn't the only data suggesting overall reception of Apple Maps is positive.
What I'm interested in is how you feel about Apple Maps in iOS 6. Are they up to snuff? Do you miss Google Maps? Or do they meet at least most of your needs?
I have been using iOS 6 since the day the first developer beta dropped. Because of that, I have also been using Apple Maps for any and all navigation using the iPhone. I have used Apple Maps in Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and countless rural areas around NC hundreds of times. I have yet to suffer from a single issue plaguing other iOS 6 users while in my home state.
However, I was in Manhattan early last month for two press events. I had no trouble looking up locations, but I traveled primarily by way of taxi. All I had to look up was addresses, and that worked fine. The part that sorely failed was getting directions on foot. Reading directions was fine, but finding my destination proved a bit tricky without the aid of my HTC One X and Google Street View. I found myself passing buildings a few times before whipping out the One X and seeing what my destination actually looked like, getting a visual confirmation of the lay of the land before I arrived.
Maps in iOS 6 have served me pretty well. And now that Google has added Street View to their mobile Web experience, the one issue I suffered from before is resolved. I simply saved the Google Maps Web app to my home screen and can call upon that if I need to see what a building or area looks like before I arrive.
Tell me, ladies and gentlemen. Are iOS 6 Maps up to par? Have you suffered from any of the recurring issues? Better yet, has the removal of Google Maps forced you to change your mind about getting an iPhone? Feel free to share your sentiments below!