Apple Maps is An Epic Fail
Kyle is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
It's difficult to recall the last time Apple blew its own toe off.
Reports are pouring in from all over the Internet that Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) new mapping software is a bust. No, really. A total washout. Ridiculously bad. Save-yourself-while you-still-can bad.
Awful. (Remember Clippy? It's worse than that.)
An Epic Fail.
According to Reuters,
An entire city is in the ocean, a farm has been labeled as an airport, highways end in the middle of nowhere and a hospital now covers the entire center of British city Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's home.
my Post colleague Michael Rosenwald let me know that a search for “The Washington Post” last night pulled up almost every newsstand in downtown D.C., but the marker at The Post’s offices served up the name of someone who worked with our newspaper. Subsequent searches showed results from different people — and different times. Searching for The Post’s address, I once got a result for the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. That partnership ended in 2009.
Also, according to Maps, I live in a parking garage.
Mashable decided to investigate. The mapping app is “almost unusably bad”, they reported.
It’s just that the problems are so numerous, Maps may never have a chance to prove itself before Google comes back strong. The search giant will soon release its version, probably after just enough time has passed for us all to try Apple’s Maps and pronounce it DOA.
Something horrible has gone wrong.
Before the new iOS6 update, Apple's products had used Google Maps as the default mapping program. That all changed after Apple declared war on Google (NASDAQ: GOOG). Google Maps have been stripped out of iOS6 and replaced with third-party data from TomTom. TomTom says its not the data, and according to AllThingsD, Apple's map development team is under lockdown until they get it fixed.
But Maps aren't easy. Google knows that. They've had a “report error” option embedded within the software since it launched. Google Maps app still has a hard time processing zip-codes in situations where boundaries are a factor. But Google Maps would never confuse Madison Square Garden with an actual garden, and Apple's Maps does.
If the bottles of champagne aren't already popping over at Google's HQ in Mountain View, its only because Google's staff prefers to party on Fridays.
Android users are gloating. The Twitterverse is lighting up. Apple stores are located on the wrong side of the road. High schools are missing. Museums are located under rivers. The red location pin misses the Washington Monument and hits Independence Avenue. Sears Tower has shrunk. The city of Hong Kong is located in mainland China. Cities are in the ocean. The Statue of Liberty is flat. Berlin has been renamed “Schöneiche bei Berlin." Whole areas are covered with clouds. Buildings twist, warp, and occasionally cease to exist altogether.
And it's slower.
This isn't a little thing. While monstrously successful, Apple's iPhone 5 “evolutionary, not revolutionary” aesthetic underwhelmed many tech reviewers. Consumers may not use the Maps app with the same urgency that they use Facebook, but they might be more uncomfortable upgrading to an iPhone 5 without a Map app that works.
Expect Google to bask in the bad publicity for as long as it can and for Apple's stock to take a near term hit as Wall Street analysts review -and potentially trim- their sales estimates. If Apple can fix its Mapping App in time for the iPad Mini release in October, then the damage will be minimal. (Certainly Bloomberg thinks so.) I'm not so sure. Most of those people lining up in front of Apple stores around the world right now have no idea of the Apple Maps horror that awaits them. While Epic Fail of Apple Maps may not be enough to alter the company's long term trajectory, it will take some of the shine off Cupertino's halo.
I'm going to finish writing this and go home. But before I do, I'm going to download iOS 6 to my iTouch, and make sure that "home" is still where I left it.
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