Apple has never been the company to use its consumers as BETA testers, until iOS 5 came along with Siri, which was pretty well-rounded in the United States even though it was in BETA. This year, seemingly in a bid to compete with Android’s rapid expansion, that has changed, and we have been given an Apple app that is very much a BETA program – Maps.
Six iOS app developers are now claiming that Apple was well aware of Maps’ problems before the company launched the app. According to these developers, Apple was warned of Maps’ issues upon the iOS 6 BETA release in June. This means Apple had several months to either work on repairing Maps, or take it out of iOS 6 until it was fixed.
These developers spoke to CNET anonymously, and they explain that their apps have significant reliance on Apple’s Maps API, and that they made it very clear that there were issues arising in Maps.
“During the beta period I filed bug reports with Apple’s Radar system (notorious for being ignored), posted on the forums several times, and e-mailed multiple people within Apple’s MapKit team to voice our concerns,” – Developer
Despite the apparent knowledge of the issues, Apple never addressed these developers’ concerns. One developer stated that the reason for this might be the way in which issues are reported to Apple by developers.
“I posted at least one doomsayer rant after each (developer) beta, and I wasn’t alone, … The mood amongst the developers seemed to be that the maps were so shockingly bad that reporting individual problems was futile. What was needed wasn’t so much an interface for reporting a single point as incorrect, but for selecting an entire region and saying ‘all of this — it’s wrong.'”
Another developer was able to contact an Apple employee, who said that the issue was indeed “well understood.” If true, this definitely implies Apple’s culpability in this whole Maps-sucking-fiasco. Yet another developer expressed concerns over controlling the quality of the experience within their App.
“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 … 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.”
It appears that now Apple is trying hard to fix Maps, but I think it could’ve avoided much of this PR nightmare – apologizing to users, offering an alternative Maps section in the App Store – by sticking with Google Maps until the iOS 6 mapping solution was 100% ready for prime time.
In my opinion, there is no doubt that Apple absolutely knew all of the problems that Maps had before its release, and I’ve said before that I think the company put its ego (and its disdain for Google) ahead of the quality of its product this year. As a member of Apple’s developer program, it upsets me to see that so many developers have been negatively impacted by Apple’s poor decision to switch out an excellent, working application just to get rid of the Google branding.
What do you guys think about this whole thing? Do you think the developers are right? Let us know in the comments!