Apple’s iOS 6 launched to much fanfare yesterday. It offers several new features that previous iterations of the operating system do not, such as a new Maps application, enhanced Siri, a Passbook app that stores airline and shopping cards, improved performance, tighter integration with Facebook and Twitter and more. Forget all of that for a second, because ever since the update hit on Thursday afternoon I’ve been bombarded with friends asking why the update is so terrible. Here’s just a snippet of actual quotes I’ve received from friends in less than 24 hours:
“Is there a way to get Google Maps back from the iOS 6 update?” one friend asked me as he struggled to take the subway up to his graduate school classes in New York after applying the update. “So, does iOS 6 not support mass transit in its Maps application?” another friend questioned. No, mass transit directions aren’t supported yet. That means you’ll need to install a third-party application to use maps for, you know, actually navigating to where you need to go.
We’ve already published a story, first crafted by Gizmodo, that details what a mess of an experience the new application already provides. The Brooklyn Bridge looks like its caving in on itself in flyover view. The Statue of Liberty is squashed like a pancake. There’s even a farm in Ireland that’s labeled as an airport.
I understand why Apple wants to gravitate away from providing a solution offered by Google, but it can’t do so while providing a terrible experience for its users. Everyday consumers aren’t like us (and I assume you’re reading this because you have the same passion for technology that I do). They hear and read about a new iOS update and jump to install it because, like most people, they assume an update is always going to provide a better experience. But that’s not the case with the Maps application in iOS 6. Apple should have kept Google Maps for another generation, or at least until its own Map experience was actually more valuable to consumers.
To Apple’s credit, Microsoft’s Bing mapping solution in early builds of Windows Phone was terrible. I remember trying to find an AT&T store only to walk to three different destinations in Manhattan that had closed within the last year. Talk about frustrating, but at least Microsoft wasn’t replacing a product that already worked.
It’s not just the Maps application that has me frustrated with Apple, which fanboys love to say is known for pushing out products that “just work.” I’ve been out of the office in meetings for the better part of this week and haven’t had time to sit down and put my words on paper. But here’s another Apple move that really really irks me: the new adapter.
If you listen to our podcast, you already know that I’m furious at Apple’s decision to nickle and dime consumers into buying new adapters for the Lightning port that was introduced in the iPhone 5. Why on earth should a consumer, who has been dedicated to Apple’s 30-pin connector and invested in its partner’s accessories for the past several years, have to cough up money because Apple decided to switch it up? I get it. I know the 30-pin adapter is old, but Apple should include a free adapter in the box with every new product that uses a Lightning port.
Instead, the company is charging $29 for the official one, which is already back-ordered on its website. If you have five chargers in your house, they’re all now useless without an adapter. That’s not to mention the hundreds or thousands of dollars you may have spent on accessories that use it, too. What a joke.
And here’s the obligatory part of the post where I say I think the iPhone 5 is a compelling addition to an increasingly competitive smartphone market. The company clearly focused on design without creating too much change to scare off its dedicated fans. Unfortunately, its software is already scaring off everyday consumers. Apple has billions in the bank, it’s ridiculous that it can’t push out a working maps solution or cough up a few pennies (the adapter probably doesn’t even cost that much) to provide its fans with a free adapter.
Shame on you, Apple.
Image Credit: Mindym306