Apple Maps service loses train stations, shrinks tower and creates new airport

 

A new mapping service was rolled out as part of Apple’s long-awaited software upgrade to iOS6, just before it began selling the iPhone 5. However, customers have complained that the new service is littered with major geographical errors and lacks many of the features offered by Google’s older mapping facility. Within minutes of the launch of the iOS6 operating system, which comes preloaded with Apple Maps, users were reporting that London had been relocated to Ontario, Paddington station had vanished, the Sears Tower in Chicago had shrunk, and Helsinki railway station had been turned into a park.

Dublin, meanwhile, has been gifted a previously undiscovered airport. The Republic’s justice minister, Alan Shatter, in whose constituency the imaginary airport has been located, has already made arrangements for Apple to be informed of the error.

Airfield, a 35-acre greenfield site with working farm, formal gardens and cafe, has been designated as an airport by the Apple database, which has labelled it with the aeroplane icon it uses for genuine aircraft landing spots.

In a statement Shatter said: “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.”

Australian authorities are urging motorists to use anything but Apple Maps to get around the Outback after the app left several people stranded in the searing desert, a mistake police called a “potentially life-threatening issue.” Police in Mildura, Victoria  said they’ve had to rescue “a number of distressed motorists that were directed off the beaten track” and stranded in Murray-Sunset National Park. Apple Maps places the town about 43 miles (70 km) away from its actual location. It’s a potentially deadly mistake, as the location is in the middle of nowhere – the park has no water supply and temperatures can reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius).

“We’ve had at least four documented cases,” senior sergeant Stephen Phelan told The Guardian on Monday before Apple made the update. The Guardian reports that Apple updated the map today. When we tried it at 11:15 a.m. PST, the map appeared to have been fixed – Mildura was still labelled on the Map incorrectly, but navigation directions will send you to the town’s actual location.

Apple, the world’s most valuable company, has received yet another superlative… from Mad Magazine. Mad’s upcoming issue that names the Apple Maps fiasco as one of the “Top 20 Dumbest People, Events and Things of 2012.” In the latest edition Mad printed a hilarious mock New Yorker cover featuring the world as seen by Apple Maps.

Apple has been forced to apologise for its disastrous mapping service, admitting that it “fell short” on its promise to deliver world class products. Indeed, It has been such a PR disaster that Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized for the debacle and several people have been fired, including iOS chief Scott Forstall and Maps product manager Rich Williamson. To recognize the great geographic goofs involved, Mad features a full-page mock apology from Tim Cook.

 

Meanwhile Google has hit back by developing Google maps app for the iPhone and iPad. Over ten million iPhone owners downloaded Google’s maps app in 48 hours, the search giant has revealed. The app is expected to replace Apple’s own mapping software on the majority of iPhones – although Apple does not let users delete its app.

‘More than 10 million downloads in less than 48 hours after release!’ said Google’s Jeff Huber, announcing the milestone online.

Apple’s shares may plunge another 20 per cent as the company slides towards a ‘Death Cross’, analysts have claimed. Investors in the tech giant – the most valuable company in the world – have been ‘panic selling’ and brought the price down from its high of $705 a share in September to its current price of $547. The California-based company has been rocked in recent weeks by reports revealing the strength of the competition from Google and Samsung. Now there are fears that it could slump to $420 or lower amid fears Apple has run out of ideas. Analysts said that the company must avoid what is known as a ‘Death Cross’ where both long and short term prospects look grim.

1 Comment
  • Eileen Dombrowski
    December 23, 2012

    Thanks for this posting, Paul. I’ve just referenced it from my own blog, TOK meets global citizenship. This story is quite delicious in the context of TOK. I repeat a familiar mantra, “The map is not the territory.”

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