Maps App Creating Headache for Apple

Today marks the official release of Apple's iPhone 5, two days after the company rolled out iOS 6. Despite towering sales figures and largely positive reactions to its latest ventures, however, Apple is taking serious heat for inaccuracies, omissions, and malfunctions on its newest Apple Maps app. 

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As soon as it was revealed that Apple would adopt its own unique mapping software on iOS 6, replacing the Google Maps software included on Apple devices since 2007, doubts began to surface about whether the Maps app could live up to Google's reliable mapping service. 

Sources around the web, ranging from serious to humorous, have collectively panned the infant Maps app for inaccurate data in locations around the world. The new software was created with input and data from Dutch navigation firm TomTom, however it is up to Apple to apply the information to its own mapping software. 

A statement released by Apple affirmed the company's commitment to improving the Maps app, noting that increased usage will help correct errors and generally expand recognition of locations.

"We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better," the company said in its statement.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Google spokesman Nate Tyler said the company intends to make its maps application available to everyone who wants it "regardless of device, browser, or operating system." The challenges Apple now faces with Maps were likely foreseen by the Cupertino company, yet the long-term initiative outweighed the present backlash in making the switch. The WSJ report notes that mobile ads placed on mapping software account for an estimated 25% of the nearly $2.5 billion spent on mobile device ads in 2012, a number on the rise, according to Opus Research. 

Over at TheNextWeb, a report on the current criticism notes that crowd sourcing serves a key function in the development of mapping software, and that Apple is hoping this will rapidly help improve its software. After selling two million iPhone 5s in 24 hours last week, and with the upgrade to iOS 6 on older Apple devices, the crowd is certainly there. On the other hand, it has taken Google several years to become a leader in mobile mapping, deploying significant and often locally targeted resources to the development of its software. 

In the short-term, issues with Apple's Maps app could make for an interesting season as consumers choose to upgrade their smartphones. Over at Allthingsd, John Paczkowski reports on Nokia's reaction to the bugs in Apple's new software. The Finnish company, whose Lumia 920 smartphone was released today for AT&T, uses its own Nokia Drive and Navteq mapping software and has noted in a blog of its own that such services cannot be built overnight.