It’s probably fair to say there’s not a great deal worth getting excited about in iOS 6, which rolled out earlier in the week ahead of today’s iPhone 5 release.
The headline feature is Apple Maps, which replaces the long-used Google Maps app. However, early reports (and personal experience) suggest Apple has a bit of work to do to bring its Maps app up to scratch.
There’s a whole bunch of amusing stuff to chew on over on The Amazing iOS 6 Maps (tumblr), which runs with the sub-heading: “The Apple iOS 6 Maps are amazing. Not.” How 80s.
Among other things, we have the Brooklyn Bridge looking like it’s been destroyed (Cloverfield comes to mind), Colorado River Bridge at Hoover Dam suffering a similar fate, incorrect names for landmarks, complete lack of detail in some areas, and, er, a gynecologist listed as a pet shop.
One picture posted on twitter shows New York’s beloved Statue of Liberty reduced to a shadow of her former self. Literally.
Another tweet shows a purported London Underground sign reading: "For the benefit of passengers using Apple iOS 6, local area maps are available from the booking office." Indeed, there are tons more pics being posted every hour under the hashtag #iOS6apocalypse. Oh dear.
Meanwhile, there’s a rather amusing story reported on thejournal.ie, with Ireland’s Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter (fantastic name), expressing his concern over a mysterious new airport in South Dublin - first identified by Apple Maps.
Shatter writes: “There are a variety of possible alternative images that could be utilised such [as] a cow, a goat, a sheep, a flower or any indeed other type of plant as Airfield operates a nursery.
“Clearly the designation is not only wrong but is dangerously misleading in that it could result in a pilot, unfamiliar with the area, in an emergency situation and without other available information, attempting a landing.”
The addition of turn-by-turn navigation (something that was available in Google Maps on Android, but not iOS) and 3D views/flyovers in Apple Maps is arguably negated by the lack – or effectively the removal – of public transport directions, which now necessitates installation of a third-party app.
As for the future, Cupertino promises Apple Maps will get better (well, that goes without saying), with an official statement issued to The Verge:
“Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service. We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover and Siri integration, and free turn by turn navigation.
“We launched this 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.
“We're also working with developers to integrate some of the amazing transit apps in the App Store into iOS Maps. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.”
A Google Maps app is said to be awaiting approval for inclusion in the App Store, with some suggesting that Apple won’t exactly be in a hurry to push it through. In the meantime, you can kind of work around it by visiting maps.google.com on your iDevice browser. Ooh, and if you tap the arrow beside the address bar (Safari), you can Add to Home Screen.
iOS 6 is available now, and is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and 4S, iPad 2 and new iPad, and third gen iPod touch. Don't all rush at once.