You know what’s awesome?
Being able to use your phone for a million other uses than just a phone. Taking pictures, shooting video, browsing the web and using it as a portable music player are all amazing features of smartphones these days.
Perhaps one of the most useful features is the GPS built into today’s smartphones, essentially making getting lost a thing of the past.
But are you missing the excitement of not knowing, the feeling of being seriously confused or even downright terrified?
Well then, today is your lucky day.
Rather than having to downgrade to a flip phone that doesn’t allow any of the aforementioned features, Apple has made it so users can still enjoy a 2012 technological experience, while at the same time throwing them into complete doubt and uncertainty with their new Apple Maps.
For those not in the know, Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS6, ditches Google Maps as its primary map application, using an Apple-created replacement in its stead. It’s the first time Apple has not used Google Maps in their flagship device and as users can attest, it’s pretty much crap.
The other day I was looking for the address to White Rock City Hall. I punched in “White Rock City Hall” expecting at least something in the City of White Rock to come back to me. Instead, I ended up getting directions to somewhere in Philadelphia on the first try and “No results found” on subsequent searches. Awesome.
It’s not just White Rock that’s been affected by Apple Maps either. Berlin was renamed as “Schöneiche,” the Statue of Liberty ceased to exist and some businesses and even a hospital were apparently relocated to the middle of bodies of water. Those who also happened to use the satellite view of maps were sometimes treated to looking at a bunch of clouds instead of actual land, and for many places, including Whistler, you can only see the world in a dull and practically-useless black and white.
The reason for the switch? Apple seemingly wanted to distance itself from Google, which is responsible for the Android mobile operating system. Apple also had a contract with Google for use of its apps, but that runs out next year.
The one thing users can discern from the above scenario? Apple forced a near-useless mapping application on users because they would rather not have to deal with Google than to have a device that actually lives up to consumer expectations. If the device was on par with previous iterations, that would have been fine. But to knowingly throw some half-assed, pitiful excuse for a maps application out into the wild and take away a perfectly functional version just to make a point about not needing Google is bullshit.
For some, the new maps won’t make much of a difference, as they may not have been used that much in the first place. For me, who uses the maps for work, I’m back to using my old suction-cup GPS.
Oh what’s that? Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized for his company’s crappiness, yet didn’t offer users a way of retaining the former Google Maps app? That makes me feel so much better. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I end up in Brazil instead of Burnaby.