Developers filed bug reports, sent emails to Apple employees and spoke about their frustration with Apple’s new Maps app on developer forums, but the service still got widely criticised upon its launch on 19 September.
“I posted at least one doomsayer rant after each (developer) beta, and I wasn’t alone,” an iOS developer told CNET. “The mood amongst the developers seemed to be that the maps were so shockingly bad that individual problems was futile.”
The developer, who CNET says has three iOS apps in Apple’s App Store, noted that Apple’s reporting process should have let beta testers point out more than a just a single problem, in an interface “for selecting an entire region and saying ‘all of this – it’s wrong.’”
According to the report, developers of applications that use Apple’s maps technology used four pre-release versions of the app before it was launched with iOS 6. These versions revealed many problems with the service, all of which were reported to Apple discussed on Apple’s developer forums.
However, these problems continued to exist when Apple released its Maps app to the public, causing users to blast the service and ask for Google Maps back. The problems include inaccuracies such as incorrect names and places, relocated landmarks, cloudy satellite images and missing train stations.
“This has been a frustrating experience for us and we don’t care where the imagery comes from, we just would like our customers to be able to have the same experience within our app when they update from iOS 5 to iOS 6,” said the developer, who chose to remain anonymous due to ‘ongoing relationships’ with Apple. “Instead, the OS upgrade broke some of the features we built within our application despite being told that only the imagery would be swapped out.”
Developers have said that they understand that Apple wants to make its own Maps app, but that the company should have ironed out issues before rolling it out to devices.
“I think if Apple really wanted to go down this path, then they should have given themselves a year to get everything right. In that time, they could have offered their own map as the default, but allowed users and developers the option to use Google Maps as an alternative,” a developer said.
In Apple CEO Tim Cook’s public apology, which was issues less than two weeks after the Maps app was launched, he advised iOS 6 users to turn to alternative maps apps, including Google’s web app that now has Street View too, while Apple works on improving its offering.
Apple does appear to be making some improvements to its Maps app, and users have reported that previously inaccurate 3D Flyover images of landmarks including the Statue of Liberty have now been accurately rendered.