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More finger pointing over the quality of Apple Maps

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The blame game over Apple’s(s AAPL) new Maps continues. Apple’s been lambasted for some of its Maps app’s deficiencies, with some pinpointing the source of its mapping data as one of the main problems. On Friday, TomTom, which licensed its map data to Apple, spoke up to defend itself.

A TomTom representative told Reuters Friday, “There is a difference between a map and an app. We don’t develop the app. We license the map data, which is like a foundation. The customer can build on top of that, but we license the same mapping data to all our customers.” The representative also defended the quality of the company’s data, saying, “We don’t know what is causing the issues (on the Apple maps) but from our perspective the quality of our data is great and we stand behind it.”

TomTom’s comments come two days after Waze, another company licensing information for Apple’s maps, weighed in on the quality of the app before most people had even used it. Perhaps anticipating backlash, Waze CEO Noam Bardin told Business Insider that Apple’s maps weren’t very accurate because of its use of TomTom’s data. “Apple went out and partnered with the weakest player … They’re now coming out with the lowest, weakest data set and they’re competing against Google, which has the highest data set.”

Apple, for its part, tacitly acknowledged the Maps app is a work-in-progress. The company said Thursday, “We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.”

Image courtesy of Flickr user Simone Lovati

18 Responses to “More finger pointing over the quality of Apple Maps”

  1. Apple can acknowledge the fact that the maps are a work in progress. Yet, with knowing this you should have considered us consumers who are getting lost and misdirected when we have no other maps to rely upon. If the maps were glitchy one should have considered the users needs and kept google maps available until all issues were solved. I guess it seems cutting off competition is far more important to apple than us lost users.

  2. Any one who is having iPhone 4 with ios 5.1.1 : please dont upgrade to ios 6. It is really crap. Maps are horrible. I upgraded & now cant downgrade. Apple is bullshit …… go for Samsung …. Android far better !!

    • TwerpStomper

      The internet culture of critics is like the Warhol adage ’15 minutes of fame’… but with the internet twerps it’s 15 words of fame. Complain, complain, complain…

      Please get ahold of your life, and move on.

  3. Marco Ruocco

    I suppose TomTom offers a range of products ordered by quality and cost. Since satellite images are covered with clouds (as it is the case of some maps) it must be a low cost imagery product, while the high quality one was just at money’s reach. For Apple, buying low cost off-the-shelf products also introduced problems in their combination in a functioning whole. This explains the so-dubbed minimalism in the maps together with the mistakes in the locations. But it is funny how a systemic problem resulted in each individual country’s press as an offence when finding the favourite landmark misplaced…

  4. RaptorOO7

    Perhaps a beta tag should have been applied to the maps app when it was launched, but it would still have not received high marks. The bottom line is if your not ready to enter the game, don’t. Apple should have waited to swap out their maps app or asked Google to just supply a separate app altogether so this would not be happening.

    • From what I’ve read, the Google Maps app is sitting in the queue waiting for approval in the App Store. Apple has been slow to approve it because they want the customers to do the QA for them. If the Google Maps app were already in the App Store people would just use that and skip Apple Maps altogether.

  5. Regardless of the merits or accuracy of anyone’s claims, these public recriminations and attempts to pass the buck are the worst sign yet. I know “this wouldn’t have happened if Steve were still around” is the most tired cliche in the Apple watcher’s phrasebook…but this really would not have happened. Jobs would have clamped down on this cross-sniping before it ever got started. Hopes this can be fixed any time soon just got much more remote.

    • George Seybold

      The reality is that the maps do a lot of things right, but yes they could be better. Remember this is a first generation product and it was designed to incorporate user data to build it out. Like Waze, I understand it uses crowd-sourced data to build itself intelligently. This is an evolution of maps, believe it or not.

      Regardless, it presents opportunities for mass transit apps, biking apps and companies like Yelp. I am excited to see how it effects the overall community as the developer community perks up and executes against the opportunity.