Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Apple Maps Still Can't Find Their Way

As of late, Apple has delivered significant updates across virtually every facet of the company. In fact, the tech giant has released 4,000 new APIs to developers; a more aggressive push in cloud services; and changes across its mobile and desktop operating systems.

But, one area of Apple’s business that is seriously lacking in function and updates is Apple Maps. Maps are important to Apple because, just as search has been at the heart of how people find their way around the Internet, maps are the key to how many people use their smartphones.

According to Apple, there is a feature in iOS 8 that will give venue owners the ability to add more indoor positioning data. But from what we understand this was far from what Apple had intended. A source told Apple Insider, “There were multiple improvements that didn’t make it into iOS8,” a source tells us.

After two years of parting ways with Google, Apple is still working on its Maps app. Some key changes included enhanced, more reliable data; more points of interest and better labels to make certain locations like airports, highways and parks easier to find; a cleaner maps interface; and public transit directions.

Further ahead, the report noted plans to integrate augmented reality features to give people images of what was nearby. So, why didn’t they appear?

One source said, “Many developers left the company, no map improvements planned for iOS 8 release were finished in time. Mostly it was failure of project managers and engineering project managers, tasks were very badly planned, developers had to switch multiple times from project to project. I would say that planning, project management and internal politics issues were a much more significant contributor to the failure to complete projects than developers leaving the group.”

Over the years, Maps have been a sensitive area in Apple’s business. It was at the 2012 WWDC that Apple unveiled a new version of its Maps app, but it turned out to be a disastrous move for the company. Unreliable data produced random renderings and bewildered users, and even prompted an apology from CEO Tim Cook with the promise that things would get better.

Apple appears to be taking similar steps to bring search closer to its core business, so there will be two areas to watch to see how the company evolves. 
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