Here's Why The Apple Maps Debacle Really Is Worrisome

Scott Forstall AppleScott Forstall, the guy in charge of iOS

Photo: Ap

Apple’s native mapping application is turning into the debacle we thought it would become.On a micro-level, this is a short term pain for Apple. It will make its maps app better and better. By this time next year we expect Apple’s maps to be very good.

Remember, Apple isn’t collecting data on its own. It’s partnering with TomTom, which has 30 years of experience with mapping. TomTom’s maps app doesn’t get people lost. Something is getting screwed up when Apple translates TomTom’s data. Apple should be able to fix this.

On a macro-level it’s a really big concern for Apple because this wasn’t unexpected. We predicted Apple would fail to deliver a quality mapping application back in June.

And if Apple, a company that is supposed to be a premium brand, can no longer be trusted to deliver high quality experiences then it will quickly lose consumer trust.

Apple has not been very good at delivering first generation software lately. Siri, for example, is a big let down. iMessage is very buggy. The Podcasts app is a disaster. The Lion operating system felt half baked.

Based on this recent history, we believed there was simply no way Apple was going to be able to deliver such a thoroughly complicated application as maps without there being a bunch of hiccups and bugs. And so we said, Apple maps was a disaster waiting to happen. (We also said Apple was taking a huge risk.)

Sure enough, Apple did deliver a subpar experience.

As Apple fights with Google and its Android software, making errors like this are simply unacceptable. The margin for error gets tighter and tighter with each passing year. The number one thing Apple has going for it over Android is that it is believed to be a premium brand that doesn’t deliver buggy crappy software.

If it can no longer be trusted to deliver top of the line software, then Apple as we know it is toast.

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