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Wozniak: new Maps 'disappointing' but problems overblown

updated 03:30 am EDT, Tue September 25, 2012

Claims he may become Australian citizen due to broadband network

Fusion-io Chief Scientist and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak commented on Apple's Maps debacle during a company event in Sydney, Australia, saying that he was slightly disappointed with the new application, but that it was primarily because he more luck with the "better database" used by Google maps on his Android phones in his own testing. Woz, who owns numerous phones and took advantage of being in the country to be among the first to get the iPhone 5, added that he felt the severity of the flaws in Apple's Maps app have been exaggerated, Australian media reports say.

While mentioning that he was "loving" the iPhone 5, Woz said he had been reading about the problems and complaints with the free service, which include inaccurate or less-complete data in some areas outside North America, satellite image issues, and the loss of some Google functionality such as Street View and transit directions (though it also added free turn-by-turn voice navigation and other new features). The main complaint users have is that the new Maps removed the older Google Maps app rather than simply becoming the new default, and there is no easy way for users to switch back or add Google Maps to iOS 6 devices currently -- as they can with the loss of the original dedicated YouTube app.

"I don't know if [the reported issues] are that severe," he told reporters, perhaps meaning that in context of the new app being a first release the program will expand its capabilities over time, or that media reports are making out the issues to be larger than they really are. Some websites have pointed out that Google Maps (and Bing Maps, which are based on Nokia's map system) also have errors of accuracy and incomplete listings. In fact, Apple Maps actually has 25 percent more business listings than Google Maps, though a number of companies have complained that the app doesn't locate them correctly.

The problems have even affected Apple Stores, with the flagship one in Sydney shown to be across the street from its actual location. Apple, stung by the media criticism over the one perceived flaw in the otherwise well-received iOS 6, is said to be working diligently on the largest issues in order to issue an update as quickly as possible.

Issues with the Maps app hasn't slowed demand for the product, which completely sold out worldwide with over five million sold at retail during its first weekend, and millions more pre-ordered or expected to be bought this week as new shipments arrive. The official count may well be revised upwards once full tallies are included, and even the five million figure represents a growth rate of 25 percent over the same period during the iPhone 4S launch.

Wozniak said that he had tried to use the navigation by voice feature of Maps while in Australia, but couldn't get to where he wanted to by voice, saying he "loved" the navigation by voice feature on his Android-based phones. After saying he didn't think the issues around Maps were "that severe," he used the example of the so-called "antenna-gate scandal" as an example. Apple never changed the design of the exterior antennas on the iPhone 4, but even once an issue with touching the antennas was proven, most users failed to notice the problem in real-world use, particularly when the use of cases become more widespread on the then-new model. The 4S slightly altered the design but kept the same exterior antennas concept intact.

"Sometimes there are a lot of complaints about one little thing people spot, but it's not that hard to deal with in life," he was quoted by ZDNet as saying. "I don't know yet about Maps -- I'm a little worried about the navigation -- but I've still got it covered with a bunch of other navigation apps." Users who want the Google Maps can still use them in much the same way as before by making a "web app" out of the website, or by relying on alternative apps. Hackers have even published various methods of putting the iOS 5 version of Google Maps back on iOS 6.

Wozniak also made headlines in Australia by announcing that he intended to become a dual citizen there, retaining his US citizenship but studying to become an Australian because of his affection for the nationalized broadband network, which has been rolled out by the Australian government and is planned to eventually provide fibre Internet access to every citizen. Wozniak famously does not have broadband in his California home because he feels his options amount to a monopoly.

He told a radio interviewer in Brisbane that he had explained his issue with cable dynasties to FCC commissioners but that the US lacked the political will to mandate affordable Internet access to all US citizens. While saying he intends to try for Australian citizenship, he appears to be interested in continuing to live near Silicon Valley, saying the area was becoming a tech hotbed again and that he enjoyed both inspiring and helping young start-ups whenever possible.

Woz also mentioned his concern that the rash of IP lawsuits currently flying between the bigger tech companies may hinder future entrepreneurs, saying he cares "about the young person that has some technical knowledge and wants to start their own business," just as he did (albeit somewhat reluctantly) along with former CEO Steve Jobs when they founded Apple, which is now the most valuable single company in the world. [via ZDNet]





by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. MyKey

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-25-12

    Woz, you should move to Bulgaria. We have top of the line internet connections. I read an article about it some time ago, we are ranked 6th in the world. Also everything there would seem dirt cheap to you. You'd just have to adjust to a few things... say the bad roads, the very cold winters, all the mafia guys that will probably be your neighbours and the overall very poor citizens.
    But yeah just move there for the internet!

  1. cgc

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 03-25-03

    Originally Posted by MyKeyView Post

    Woz, you should move to Bulgaria. We have top of the line internet connections. I read an article about it some time ago, we are ranked 6th in the world. Also everything there would seem dirt cheap to you. You'd just have to adjust to a few things... say the bad roads, the very cold winters, all the mafia guys that will probably be your neighbours and the overall very poor citizens.
    But yeah just move there for the internet!



    Unlike Bulgaria, Australia has perfect beard-growing weather in addition to better Internet.

  1. MyKey

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-25-12

    http://www.netindex.com/download/allcountries/

    Australia is ranked 42 with 11.96 Mbps
    Bulgaria is ranked 13 with 25.09 Mbps

    in addition, the cost of living in Australia is much higher than in Bulgaria.

  1. Avery Bond

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-25-12

    No one is concerned about Bulgaria except for its feta cheese.

  1. gprovida

    Junior Member

    Joined: 02-14-06

    I did some testing with Maps and found it worked fine for me in Boston area. this is certainly not a world wide test, but also neither are the lot of the other examples. I did not use the Maps that much, I had other Nav programs that I preferred and were more reliable for me in my area and needs, these are working fine.

    Aside from the opportunity to dump on Apple, I suspect this will work itself out over the next 6-9 months to be a sound solution. The key point is that the underlying technology is a substantial improvement [vector vs bit mapped], allowing other providers e.g., public transportation providers access, and loss of the ads are real pluses. Getting the data base sorted out across the world will take a bit of work, but there are vast resources of mapping data to mine and contract.

    Again a much more serious business challenge emerges if Google essentially looses the use data from Apple iPhone iOS devices as well as the revenue. This is a deep business challenge to Google. Ergo, their push for Chrome on iPhone. Apple is in this for the long run and Google has some interesting and fundamental challenges ahead of it.

  1. Avery Bond

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-25-12

    There's absolutely no doubt this has become an opportunity to slam Apple. The sad part is, they're doing it because Jobs isn't around. If he was, he probably would have had a presentation to arrogantly stymie everyone into their wrongful ways. People are simply envious of Apple's "do no wrong" philosophy to build a proper product matrix, release cycle and ecosystem that others can't compete against. It is a tragedy that Tim Cook and team must now face the wrath.

    Schmidt is proving to be a child for Google. Rather than be diplomatic, he's half-jokingly offering no clarity for iOS6. Deep inside, he wish he was working for Apple because he doesn't have artistry in the rank and file. I've worked with engineers in many tech startups (so much I had to write a book on it!) and Google has proven that "engineers alone" cannot do it all. There have been many failed products in Google ranks. Like this pathetic number they bandy about regarding Google+ growth. I guess it doesn't matter that everyone is forced/portioned off to a Google+ account simply for having account services - even if they don't know they have a profile account or have accessed, that is a G+ user! That is a barren wasteland of deadspace and will ONLY survive because of SEO and their Adwords and SERP algos...nothing more.

    But I must get back to the topic at hand. The new maps is just find in major cities - people are whining about the fact that in "some" places, the building is on one side of the street vs. other. WTF! I've seen this crap in Google Maps today with a outdated StreetView snapshot as well! Bing - same crap. Get over it whiners that have nothing to do but whine. Even my TomTom GPS device with "updated maps" is a waste of headspace making me drive across cornfields in what appears, in reality, to be a real freakin highway!

    OK, rant off. :-)

    http://bit.ly/techredflags

    Avery

  1. Cellinko

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-25-12

    Using the map in Tokyo recently the app took me to a location somewhat nearby but actually 0.5 mile away on foot. Furthermore, it noted that the distance was 0.9 miles and the estimated time walking to the destination would be 4 minutes. Which by any stretch of the imagination is a near Olympic pace.

    The worst part of having to switch to the Map app is that you are no longer able to have it tabulate any transit directions which is key for a city like Tokyo that depends heavily on public transportation. The Google Maps app did this near to flawlessly, giving you combined walking as well as train directions, including station names, departure times and transfer times should a transfer be necessary. Nor can you type in the name of say a bank you are looking for and have it return the nearest branches on the map.

    I had to rely on an iPhone with iOS5 running on a data roaming chip from a Chinese provider to navigate my way around Tokyo at quite the expense for something I was previously able to do with my US phone without a second thought.

    This is not progress and not only is it more than disappointing, it is pathetic. Apple has forgotten that giving the end user a choice is far better than ramming down something imperfect down one's throat over petty political differences with the provider of a system that works, at least for the moment, better than anything Apple has to offer at least when it comes to providing accurate and useful information.

    Develop your own Maps app, which admittedly does a lot of things and looks a lot sleeker than Google's, but give us a choice.

    Perhaps it's time Apple went back to being the brighter smaller monkey on the block than the 2 ton bully gorilla it is beginning to look like.

  1. cgc

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 03-25-03

    Originally Posted by MyKeyView Post

    http://www.netindex.com/download/allcountries/
    Australia is ranked 42 with 11.96 Mbps
    Bulgaria is ranked 13 with 25.09 Mbps
    in addition, the cost of living in Australia is much higher than in Bulgaria.



    Why don't you and Bulgaria go get a frickin' motel room?

  1. MyKey

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-25-12

    I am currently living in South Africa, and I must say that the new Maps app works a lot better. Sure I have noticed that there are some errors. For instance, a gas station was marked at a particular location which was incorrect. It's true location however was literally across the road.
    With google maps, all the information that was displayed was just the street names. So asking it to find a route for you usually yielded no results, except for the few more popular places like big shopping centres and stadiums.
    So I think that having the content on the map is a lot better then no content, even if it's slightly incorrect.




    Originally Posted by cgcView Post


    Why don't you and Bulgaria go get a frickin' motel room?




    Don't worry I shall, just a soon as I get back there. A nice motel room with super fast Bulgarian internet and awesome Bulgarian feta cheese and Bulgarian yoghurt (because that's awesome too).

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