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Apple Maps - not so bad, but stupid

Finding my way around Swindon with Apple Maps
Wow, you have a Peacocks and two Greggs?! Respect.
People like to knock the big guy, and why not? We enjoy giving Starbucks a good kicking for not paying any tax in the UK, for instance. Traditionally Microsoft was always hated by many as the big corporate IT behemoth, but of late Apple has taken over this role. What used to be the cool rebel alternative has become mainstream, large and ... a target.

So it was delight for many when Apple kicked themselves firmly in the iOS with their Maps app. If you haven't come across the many Apple Maps jokes and the reason behind them, here's the thing. Google used to provide the mapping application used on iPhones and iPads. It was a very good mapping application - Google have been in this business a good time. But Apple decided they'd go it alone and do their own app. Which wasn't always perfect. To say the least. So much booing and hissing for Apple and kudos for Google (itself not insignificant in the corporate behemoth stakes).

However, I have to say my own experience of Apple Maps is rather different from the online wailing and gnashing of teeth. I use maps on my phone a lot. If I've got a meeting in London, for example, and emerge from a tube station, 10 second with Maps and I've oriented myself, know which road to walk down and I'm off. It's brilliant. And to be honest I have not found any real difference in this respect in switching from Google to Apple mapping.

For me, the idiocy with the Apple Maps change was not so much the errors - they were/will be fixed soon enough - it's the focus. The new Maps app was much hyped before launch because of its ability to do flyovers of a few cities. If you go to Apple's site describing the new operating system, it's the flyovers that stand out. Frankly, who cares? It's a gimmick, a toy you will play with for 2 minutes. But Maps is a bread and butter app. It delivers really important stuff day to day: finding your way around, specifically on foot. (Yes, it has turn by turn directions for cars, but I prefer my satnav which tells me the names of the streets and doesn't stop working when I lose signal.) To concentrate on the flyovers feature is a bit like Word making a big thing of WordArt. Yes, it's pretty, but it's not what Word is mostly used for. If the developers had concentrated on how people actually use Maps, rather than the gimmicks, they would have done a better job in the first place.

And I think that's a lesson for business as a whole.


  1. For reasons I don't understand the anti-spam stuff fairy has deleted a rather witty comment from Anonymous, so I'm re-adding it. It read:

    Surely one POKES oneself in the iOS.

    So true.


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