30 September 2012

Maps in iOS 6

There hasn’t been a single complaint about Apple’s maps in iOS 6 that isn’t something I’ve seen from the previous, Google-powered maps app. In my experience, the iOS 6 maps app works as well as the iOS 5 maps app ever did. Maybe better. Plus, I get the turn-by-turn, voice-prompted navigation which, again, has been flawless for me so far.

In some countries, things are bad. If you’re in China, though, iOS 6 maps is a huge improvement.

People like me get shouted down, though. We are told we’re the outliers. They say you only have to google to see how widespread the problem is.

Apple’s data is different than Google’s. So, people who were happy with Google’s are likely to be less happy with Apple’s. It’s no surprise those people are going to be vocal about their disappointment. I’m not convinced, however, that the number of complaints found online is an especially good metric for measuring the quality of the app. Your anecdotal evidence isn’t better than mine.

One test suggests that the iOS 5 and iOS 6 data may be comparable. Maybe it isn’t the best test, but it is orders of magnitude better than the “Don’t you see all the complaints?” test.

Yes, Tim Cook apologized. Which is standard customer service operating procedure. You apologize before you even know whether the customer’s complaint is valid. (Jobs might not have done it, but the regular customer service in Apple does.) It is reasonable to assume Apple’s data isn’t up to par with Google’s. Apple is new to this game. It will take actual research rather than anecdotes, however, to know how it really compares.

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