Apple’s long-anticipated iPhone 5 launch today is leaving many of the iFaithful asking, “Where’s the maps?”
In a rare misstep, Apple’s new maps product, which replaces Google Maps in iOS 6 and comes preloaded on the iPhone 5, has angered many users for a variety of reasons.
The update to iOS 6 was made available for download on Wednesday and it took until Thursday for the consumer outcry to reach a fevered pitch. After trying out the new maps service, Apple users cited mislabeled landmarks, and a lack of transit directions, which are a staple of Google’s service, as reasons for their outrage.
Users have also complained that Apple Maps is lacking in the common sense that has slowly been built into the more mature Google maps over the years. For instance, if you type O’hare into Google Maps, the site will automatically direct you to well-known international airport in Chicago. Type O’Hare into Apple Maps, and you’ll be shown map pins in a variety of random places around the United States, none of which will get you to your flight on time.
While Apple Maps does include a mode which renders a few cities around the globe in three dimensions, the feature is largely useless for navigation and is more a technological showpiece.
Users can still access Google Maps through a browser and ad an icon for the service to their homescreens, but the browser-based alternative is slower than the previous pre-installed version.
Trudy Muller, an Apple spokeswoman, said the company launched its new map service knowing that it is a “major initiative and we are just getting started with it.”
“We are continuously improving it and as Maps is a cloud-based solution, the more people use it, the better it will get,” Muller said.
Muller also said that Apple is working with developers to integrate some of the existing transit apps in the App Store into iOS Maps.
But even as users voice their disappointment with Apple Maps, the company, as well as carrier partner AT&T, have already confirmed record preorders for the iPhone 5. Meanwhile, reports were rampant of long lines in front of stores in major cities. AT&T has already pushed out its shipment window to anywhere from 14 to 21 days.
Investors seemed none too worried about the maps fracas. Shares of Apple were up over 4 percent in early trading to $703.21.