Has Apple's iOS 'Jumped the Shark' with the Map Flap?

Moderated by Larry Dignan | October 8, 2012 -- 07:00 GMT (00:00 PDT)

Summary: Apple Maps debuted in Apple's new mobile iOS 6 and became a crack in the company's invincibility. But how much?

Jason Perlow

Jason Perlow

Just a dose of reality


Losing its luster

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Best Argument: Just a dose of reality


Audience Favored: Losing its luster (75%)

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

Just a dose of reality

Jason Perlow September 19, 2012. A day that will live in infamy. It was the day that everyone who owned an Apple iOS device and who wanted to upgrade to the latest version of the mobile operating system hit the "Upgrade" button, and found out after their next reboot that their devices were de-Googlefied.

The Google Maps software that provided integrated geolocation services and has so prominently been featured in Apple commercials since 2007 for showing "There's an App for that" in multitudes of 3rd-party apps that make extensive use of the cartographic data in Google's Maps was replaced with Apple's own Maps product.

This wouldn't have been an issue if Apple's own mapping and geolocation services were anywhere near as extensive or as accurate as Google's. But they aren't. The new Maps software has been lambasted by the media as well as the company's die-hard fans and it has been a public relations disaster for the company.

Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, has issued a public apology, and has stated that the company "fell short on its commitment... to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible" to its customers.

Look, Apple blew it with iOS 6 Maps, but the computer and technology industry isn't television fantasy.

Is iOS 6 Maps a Cupertino speedbump? Yes. Has it given Apple a dose of reality orientation and given it a badly-needed dose of humility when arrogance has been its operating principle? Definitely.

Is the company going to stop selling iDevices like hotcakes and provide a wide opening for its competitors to knock it down to irrelevance?

Hell no.

Losing its luster

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols Once upon a time, OK, it was 1977, the U.S. TV show Happy Days was incredibly popular. Think of it as the iPhone of TV comedy of its day. Then, Fonzie, the most popular character on the show, jumped over a captive shark on water skis while wearing his trademark leather jacket. That was, popular myth has it, the beginning of the end of the show.

That’s not really true. The episode was quite popular and the show kept on for six more years. But, most people would agree that the show started its long, slow decline with this episode.

So what does that have to do with Apple’s iOS Maps fiasco? Everything.

Apple’s made big miscues before. Antennagate anyone? Besides the Apple Map mess, iOS 6 also seems to have brought a host of Wi-Fi problems. But, I can’t recall anytime since Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 when Apple made such a single major blunder.

Has this made any difference in iPhone sales? Nope. Not a bit. But, for the first time since Apple’s captured the public’s imagination with its iPods, iPhones, and iPads, Apple has made a major misstep.

Apple may still make billions for the next few years, but the illusion that Apple can do no wrong with their mobile products has been shattered. Years from now, we may well look back at Maps as Apple’s shark-jumping moment.


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  • Why I dont like apple

    Here is Why I don't like many Apple products.
    Please do read!
    Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • You work for Dell?

      I think I called you
      Dr Phil of Crap
      Reply 2 Votes I'm Undecided
    • Mastered the overuse of the exclamation point.

      I see in your article you've mastered the overuse of the exclamation point.

      I bought the iPhone because it does a lot of stuff. The phone part is actually one of the least used parts of it.

      Yes, a dedicated device is still better - despite ZDNet's claims to the contrary, my point and shoot is still better than any phone, and I will take it on vacation.

      But then again, when I'm not on vacation and want to take a quick picture, I can just pull out my iPhone.

      I bought the phone to be able to do just about everything. So it's a good fit for that.

      But I *would* agree that if you want the best experience for a particular use case, a dedicated device is still better. ZDNet loves to believe that a phone is "just as good as" a dedicated device, but frankly that's hogwash.

      Doesn't mean I consider my iPhone to be useless, though. I'll bring one or two dedicated devices around as needed, but for the most part I use my iPhone for a lot of stuff.
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
    • Okay, I read...

      Not a good post, even for "personal opinion." I'm with the other guy: please remove the number 1 key and the Shift keys from your keyboard immediately.

      To say that a multi-purpose device doesn't do any particular thing as well as dedicated device is *not* the same as saying that the multi-purpose device is a bad device. In essence, you're calling the several hundred million iOS and Android users idiots for their failure to recognize that a 5MP phone camera takes poorer pictures than a digital SLR. How stupid of us.
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
    • There are always reasons why to buy or not to buy various products.

      Most of those reasons, if we are dealing specifically with reasons that make sense, are reasons that apply to people individually. There are of course always plenty of reasons that do not make sense that have been thrown around for years. The haters of various products have relied upon those reasons for years as well to discredit other products, always apparently in the hope that either nobody that reads such a dumb post online has a computer and can check facts (I know thats ridiculous), or that people will never be able to find out the truth about an obviously ludicrous post relying on anecdotal stories to prove their point.

      Im hoping, perhaps beyond reason that we can get away from that kind of nonsense at ZDNet. Unlike many Apple fanatics who may have said in the past they recognize that Apple products are not perfect, but would just as soon cut your head off at the shoulders as admit to an actual flaw, Im hoping we are now at a state where the Apple fanatics as well as any fanatics of any brand can tone it down a touch to a position of reality.

      It seems to me that this whole Apple maps fiasco is one simple problem. Apple definitely botched their mapping program which is an incredibly important app. To have it messed up is clearly not good at all. I cannot say how big an impact on iPhone 5 sales, but it cant help. I also understand there are some alternat solutions, but it just goes to show you how poorly thought out Apples approach was on this point. Its not good, as mapping apps, Google maps in particular is relied upon by many for its services on a daily basis. Some people find it critical. I for one have an iPhone 3G Im looking to upgrade and my problem now is while I have really liked my iPhone a lot, a real lot, I need a real good mapping app and if Apple dosnt have a real good on the iPhone 5, it’s a fairly strong reason for me to look in other directions much harder than I would have. Quite frankly, up to now everything else I have heard about the iPhone 5 has impressed me and I have not had a lot of reason to give another brand a strong consideration beyond what I may or may not find I like or dislike at the time of shopping.

      The lack of Google maps now is going to make me think a lot about how I will have to cope with an iPhone without Google maps. It will always lead to the question “is it worth it considering my alternatives?” Until this, that would never have been such a pointed question.
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • Yeah . . .

        "Most of those reasons, if we are dealing specifically with reasons that make sense, are reasons that apply to people individually."

        Yeah - this is really the problem with media companies. They don't really care so much for the detailed nuances. They don't care about the details. They don't care about the edge cases. They don't care about the fact that different people have different wants and needs.

        They prefer the grand, sweeping generalities. They prefer to paint with broad brush strokes, even if it wipes out all of the detail and nuance.

        It is a bit tiring, to be honest. It's hard to get good information from the media anymore.
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • Evil Empire

    Any difference between North Korea and Apple? They both brain-wash people into thinking they are the best thing in the world, they both recently lost their leader and they are obsessed with themselves.
    Reply 4 Votes I'm for Losing its luster
    • Please Don't Be An Idiot

      North Korea? What is it about Apple that makes you dimbulbs lose your gods damned minds?
      Reply 4 Votes I'm Undecided
      • I agree, its a stupid remark.

        Apple is not North Korea. Thats rediculous in the extreme. Im just hoping that others will feel the same way when remarks that are every bit as stupid are made up about Microsoft or Google or any big IT company.

        Your right. Too many people just lose their minds about these things and its well beyond tired.
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • Arrogance, and unquestioned loyalty is what they have in common

      Jason Perlow, what would happen if Google just withdrew completely from iOS? That would cause many people not to buy iOS devices. The only reason it hasn't affected iSales more than it has is because Google decided to supply iUsers with alternatives.

      Imagine if Google made youtube and Google maps completely incompatible with iOS? No app for that. No web access either.

      If Apple wants to play hard ball, they better be very very careful.
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided