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back to article Apple's brilliant plan to fix iOS Maps: Get YOU to do it

Apple has finally spoken out about its new maps application that has raised howls of protest from users, who claim it is less detailed and full of mistakes. Users have been chronicling the differences between the new maps app in iOS6 and the Google maps app on iOS5 it replaces saying the user experience has worsened and the …

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Megaphone

OMG They are talking to el'reg?

"A statement supplied to the Register by the fruitchomp firm has this to say"

When did Apple start allowing you to read their holy scriptures again?

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Mushroom

Re: OMG They are talking to el'reg?

That's precisely what I thought

it's the end of days I tell ya, the Mayans were right!

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Happy

Re: OMG They are talking to el'reg?

Since the Reg started publishing sycophantic reviews of their phones.

http://www.reghardware.com/2012/09/21/apple_iphone_5_review/

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Re: OMG They are talking to el'reg?

Now that *really* shows you how desperte they are!

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Re: OMG They are talking to el'reg?

I'm afraid to say that, just lately, the sudden apple-love and apple-exposure for sometimes nonsensical things has me worried.

I expect The Reg to be at least neutral in its outlook. If it's not, that worries me that there are backhanders and other incentives being passed around lately, especially given the recent iPhone review. If that's true, I find it a little disgusting to be honest, and will move on as I have from other sites that have sold out.

Personally, I'd like to see some sort of official statement to the effect that they aren't receiving something in exchange for these positive reviews and incessant mentions in unrelated articles. Absence of such a statement I will really take to be confirmation that it's true (because such things would be done under a NDA / NQA basis).

Seriously, Reg? Where'd all the Apple mentions come from this past year, when before it was no more than yet-another-IT-company?

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@Lee Dowling

I sincerely hope the El Reg doesn't go all neutral on us, the by-line is "biting the hand that feeds IT". El Reg should always be a little bit on the harsh side and open to offer major critique where it is due, over the top sometimes even. With a by-line like "biting the hand that feeds IT" you'd assume that advertisers would piss off, but no, El Reg has been really, really harsh on MS and MS would still put their adverts on the site.

As for why so many Apple adverts, I mean articles, because they have journalists who are Apple fanatics so are more likely to publish an Apple story?

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IT Angle

Re: OMG They are talking to el'reg?

I dislike them as much as the next and this is another news article which isn't very friendly to them....

Not sure what your reading...

Anyway, unless you ever bothered to check the site said its completely unbiased when you signed up (it may do, it may not, I've not checked nor care) then really you don't have much to stand on?

It's kind of hard to ignore one of the biggest sellers of technical devices, no matter how much you dislike them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: OMG They are talking to el'reg?

Could be worse, they could turn into Gizmodo Uk. :(

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Re: OMG They are talking to el'reg?

It seems Apple only talk to El Reg when they're at PR Defcon 1. At least I hope it's that, and not return for favourable coverage of the newest version of the world's most shiniest toy.

See Apple will only reinstate mute kids' app if makers win patent case.

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Happy

Re: OMG They are talking to el'reg?

Should this shitty implementation of an attempt to grab Googles "Google Earth" (and all the others) market share not read:

"We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover and Siri integration, and free turn by turn navigation. We launched this new map service knowing that it is a major initiative and we are just getting started with it."

More like this:

"We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyshit and Silly integration, and free crash and burn navigation. Blah, blah, blah...."

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Re: OMG They are talking to el'reg?

over at cnet.. its the perverse inverse.. 80% are accolades!

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Windows

"El Reg has been really, really harsh on MS..."

... but often because they deserve it.

As a user (and, mostly, fan) of MS products, I keep coming back here because the articles (and comments) pointing out Redmond's flaws are usually well-informed and not just the vitriol of a hater. It quickly puts an end to any fanboy tendencies I may have.

Keep on biting the hand that feeds, and I hope I will always be willing to read and listen to intelligent people who disagree with me.

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Re: OMG They are talking to el'reg?

No one is saying they should be ignored, rather the issue is disproportionate coverage. They should be treated like any other multinational consumer electronics company - there are others, and they sell at least as much as Apple.

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FAIL

Users will still be able to access Google maps via the web on the Safari browser.

Unfortunately without jailbreaking the device, neither the default map-handler (nor browser) may be changed. Therefore every address link will open the Apple app, and every app using location services will do so as well, thus breaking the user experience in all of those.

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Re: Users will still be able to access Google maps via the web on the Safari browser.

iOS uses an unofficial protocol of "maps://" to identify links to the mapping service. Last time I looked it interpreted "maps://maps.google.com" as a link to the local mapping app, ignoring the domain. However replacing "maps://" with "http://" would still take you to google maps, so app developers could hard wire their apps to go to google that way. (Of course getting apple to put an updated app that does this in the store might be tricky. And they did appear to be chopping and changing their map handling in previous betas of iOS 6 so I'm not 100% sure that this is still the case.) Could be a stopgap till apple maps catch up... Or a massive waste of effort... YMMV!

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HMB
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iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

Cloud based... hehe.

So how are users going to improve horrifically poor resolution on satellite imagery? Will Apple be supplying canons to fire your phone out up into the air with software that takes a snap at max altitude?

Presumably the more people try to use the petrol stations on top of skyscrapers, the better the accuracy will get.

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FAIL

Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

Not even Google's "satellite imagery" is particularly detailed. Satellite imaging isn't that good. In fact, the problem you're referring to is entirely due to the poor resolution of the available satellite images.

To get those close-up images of individual cars parked in driveways, you need to pay someone to fly over the country and take photographs. It's called "aerial photography" and Apple are clearly going to need time to fill in the gaps. Even Google still has a way to go to achieve 100% coverage of the planet's land masses.

Here in Italy, great swathes of the countryside are devoid of detail. And that's in Google Maps, not just Apple's new Maps app. So it's not just Apple.

Mapping the planet is a constant work in progress—a permanent beta. Nobody has "perfect" coverage. Ever.

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Coat

Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

Nah, that's what we have the Reg SPB for ;)

Suddenly it becomes clear the real reason behind LOHAN - it's a covert method of updating the Apple-maps.

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Happy

Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

I smell a 'Maps Apologist'...

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FAIL

Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

Hmmm. Yes, but my house is visible on Google Maps. You can't even find my town on Apple's satellite imagery. Even back in the early days of Google Maps the town existed (on the actual map it appears to be about 5miles east of the right place). Ho hum. Looking at London Bridge station I'd say Apple decided that 3 year old imagery would be just fine.

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Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

Singing,

Always look on the bright side of maps

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Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

deviod of detail? have a look at Brigton - one of the UK's major cities... there is no imagery at all - nor for about 100 miles alongand 25 miles inland of the southeast coast...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

Bing satellite maps are better for me - Google are not that good at all. I've been using the iOS maps application today - seems fine - I'm sure other people may be having issues (as it's new) but I doubt 100% of people find Google Maps perfect either.

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FAIL

Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

Deluded much?

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Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

One of the UK's major cities?

Come on. :)

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TRT
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Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

I reckon we've got better pictures of Mars than this!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

Google / Bing are not satellite at high zoom levels, they are photo-mosaic.

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Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

Indeed the satellite image coverage is very hit and miss .. I saw very similar results when I started to use the Google supplied maps on my iPhone 3GS three years ago .. it slowly got better but now I've upgraded that same 3GS to iOS6 its like going back in time ... very disappointing and I've been using the "report a problem" button a lot over the last 24 hours!

It is clear to me Apple know it was going to be like this as they have included a very comprehensive problem reporting form directly within the Maps application.

I'm Googling for an easy way to downgrade back to iOS5, the maps app is that important to me 8-(

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

Wouldnt want the Normans to have good imagery for their invasion plans

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Coat

Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

Well the satellite imagery has lots of clouds in it. How much more "cloud based" do you want it to be?

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

keyboard please

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Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

WE can be thankful, for small mercies...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

"Satellite imaging isn't that good. In fact, the problem you're referring to is entirely due to the poor resolution of the available satellite images."

I would not call the, IIRC, 0.9m panchromatic channel of IKONOS, or Quickbird's 0.6m channel exactly "poor resolution". I mean, we could see fenceposts and road markings on the scenes, let alone an entire car (that was, in fact, the first time we played "look, I can see my car from space").

This was in the pre-Google Earth days (2001-2003) when we were using their data.

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Big Brother

Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

Quite so. Back when most folks around here, we're in nappies, Google maps also sucked. How did they improve it??...well, OMG...they asked users for feedback - just like Apple. They had a feedback page where you could enter gps info, post codes, street info....JUST LIKE APPLE IS DOING NOW.

There simply isn't another way of doing it except to crowd source for better info.

Actually, most folks here sound as if they still wear nappies and are very wet behind the ears.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: iOS 6 Maps - Cloud Based Satellite Imagery

Apple are charging a massive premium and asking us to do the work.

I wouldn't buy a Rolls Royce and expect to push two tonnes of steel down the road.

They are taking the piss

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Not that I like Apple, but this move does seem very un-Apple like, to launch a product which isn't really ready or refined, or as user friendly as most other things they bring out. I wouldn't have imagined they would have realised this 'til it was complete.

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Pedant alert

"We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better."

Well it can't exactly make it worse. >.>

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Anonymous Coward

They finally realised

They can bin stuff they have been paying royalties for and shovel any old shite out to the masses and it will still sell in MASSIVE amounts!

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Trollface

a Phone that can't make calls properly comes to mind...

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Errr, like Siri?

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Now get out of that...

I agree with you that this is exactly the sort of thing that Jobs abhorred and came down like a ton of bricks on people for. Not that there weren't problems with services under his watch but that was relatively unimportant stuff like @mac or "mobile me".

This is the sort of thing that, if it is allowed to rumble is very bad for a company's image. Be interesting to see how well Apple's PR swings into action to deal with disgruntled customers as well as they did with the antenna problems: bumper or shiny new phone. Will depend largely on the scale of the fuck up.

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WTF?

For those whining that Google's Maps app was "better"...

... try living in the Italian countryside sometime. Until iOS 6, my home town was hidden by clouds. (Yes, exactly as is being complained of in the Apple Maps app by others.)

Maps are ALWAYS a work in progress. They're never done. And with a dataset as big as an entire planet, expecting perfection out of the box is idiotic. Sorry, but it just is.

Yes, the aerial photography needs work, but Google's early efforts were no better and certainly aren't glitch-free even today. Oh sure, you'll get excellent details of major cities like London and Rome, but the further out you get from either, the lower the detail and accuracy.

Google also clearly couldn't be bothered to update their iOS Maps app for years, so Apple naturally got fed up and decided to go for the nuclear option. I can't say I blame them.

Google will doubtless release a magically upgraded and improved iOS Maps app sooner rather than later. I'm betting you'll be encouraged to enter your Google account details to "get the most" out of it. (I.e. give Google even more data about your every single move. For free. Nice con, that: convincing your raw materials suppliers to give it all to you for nothing, so you can benefit from fat profit margins. And making them feel like they're doing you a favour? Priceless!)

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Re: For those whining that Google's Maps app was "better"...

Yes Sean, you're quite right. Google's lack of clarity for your Italian idyll is clearly enough to balance the waves of criticism for Apple's offering. We now see that Google was never in fact "better".

Also, I believe the maps app was always Apple's doing, using Google data although I am prepared to be proven wrong.

Google may come to iOS users' rescue eventually although if I understand the situation, when Apple used Google's data, Apple had to pay them for it. If Google provide a maps app, no more payment? So maybe not so straightforward as all that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: For those whining that Google's Maps app was "better"...

@Sean Baggaley 1: "Maps are ALWAYS a work in progress."

Absolutely - I've seen ridiculous things on every mapping technology I've ever used. Google maps still suggests that cars can drive on a strictly pedestrian walk-way locally, and my sat-nav routinely doesn't know about new/changed roads and intersections.

Interestingly, the satellite imagery in our area is significantly more up to date than the Google images - developments completed years ago are on the Apple Maps but not in Googles. The problem works both ways depending on the age and source of your data.

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Thumb Down

Re: For those whining that Google's Maps app was "better"...

Surely Apple has enough in the warchest to pay Google for licensing fees.

This decision certainly wasn't anything to do with consumers since the Apple Maps solution is demonstrably poorer than the thing it replaced. To echo the poster above - I'm surprised they released it in this state.

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Mushroom

Re: For those whining that Google's Maps app was "better"...

Sorry Sean but thats bollocks, I live in a field in the middle of no where in the UK and the google maps and satellite images are first rate.

The Apple maps in IOS6 are shit according to my Apple using colleagues, its nothing to do with a work in progress when the fundamental basis of the map is so totally rubbish.

I suggest you sniff your hands Sean as polishing a turd just leaves you with a shiny turd and shit on your hands!

I hope Apple pay you well.

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Facepalm

Re: For those whining that Google's Maps app was "better"...

" Until iOS 6, my home town was hidden by clouds. (Yes, exactly as is being complained of in the Apple Maps app by others.)" -- Have you even tried turning off the satellite view?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: For those whining that Google's Maps app was "better"...

"This decision certainly wasn't anything to do with consumers since the Apple Maps solution is demonstrably poorer than the thing it replaced."

No, I suspect it was meant as a punishment for Google because of Android, but it kinda back-fired.

Apple being Apple can't back down now either, so they're stuck with sorting this mess. It makes me smile, I don't really like Apple - basically for this reason, they have you by the nuts and if they want to shaft you, they will. I can't help but feel for the users though, losing functionality without being able to replace it sucks.

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Joke

Re: For those whining that Google's Maps app was "better"...

"Until iOS 6, my home town was hidden by clouds."

Wow, the iPhone 5 is so magical, it even improves the weather.

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