As Apple catches flak about the performance of the new mapping software on the iPhone 5, I am amazed some are linking this issue to the lack of Steve Jobs at the helm.
Many comments on the web have idolized Steve Jobís Apple as one focused on quality, yet everyone seems to forget the antenna fiasco with the iPhone 4. With the iPhone 4, Apple sold a substandard product and covered up the problem in many markets with a free phone case, rather than recalling the product and fixing the problem. And yes, this was under the direction of Steve Jobs.
Please donít get me wrong. I think Steve Jobs was a brilliant man and deserves the credit for Applesís success. But this is still the same company that Steve led and like any other high-tech company, no product can or will ever be perfect. When you deal with complex electronics components or devices you will inevitably be fixing bugs in both hardware and software. This is the very reason most technology companies shy away from publishing roadmaps and release dates.
The processors of the latest smartphones are among the most complex ever designed and the software is equally intricate. This is likely not the only issue Apple will deal with as people begin using the new iPhone with iOS6 and finding the quirks that the design team did not consider. This does not make the Apple staff any less competent than with the previous Apple products, both good and bad. It just makes them human.
In regard to the issue of substituting the Apple mapping software for the Google application, that might have been better timed when the application was more mature. However, it is always difficult to replace an application that has a dominant market share and is continually being improved. This is why Microsoft has been able to maintain such a dominant position with its Office productivity suite.
So, the iPhone 5 may not be bug free and the mapping software may not be as good as the alternative, but Apple has done what it does best in delivering a quality solution that includes a device, applications, and services through its wireless partners. This is still the same Apple that Steve Jobs built. And if you are still not convinced, please note that the average smartphone takes eighteen to twenty-four months to develop, which means Steve Jobs likely had an influence on some of the decisions made.
Jim McGregor TIRIAS Research Founder/Principal Analyst
I agree. Having just a few flagship products as opposed to dozens like many companies, makes the few misses more glaring and all of the hits more hype-able. Apple has made bad products under Steve Jobs' helm and while run by others. They've had enough major hits to make up for the misses.
The iPhone is really more than it's specs and operations. Coca Cola is just colored, flavored sugar water, but it's one of the best known and best like drinks in the world. That's not because of the technology or ingredients. What makes Apple, Apple hasn't changed.
Having tried the new iOS6 maps app for just this past weekend, and having read a couple articles about this "disaster," I still don't get what all the fuss is about.
Does it have the same accuracy as Google Maps? Apparently not, according to the experts. In fact, those experts say it has the same errors as Tom Tom's products, since both companies buy their map data from the same Dutch company. But I don't personally know anyone who complains about their Tom Tom's map data accuracy, and in my limited testing of driving around the Phoenix area this weekend, I couldn't find any errors in the new Apple maps app. Perhaps if I took an extended leave of absence and traveled the world with my iPhone, I could locate some map data errors in a few places!
What I did notice is that the new app gives turn-by-turn voice directions, using the Siri voice. Now THAT is actually something useful, even though it's something I didn't need, since I already had that capability with the Mapquest iOS app.
This also explains why I would never have noticed if the old Google-based maps app in iOS5 was better or worse than the new Apple app or the Mapquest app or any other navigation app -- because the old Google-based app didn't offer turn-by-turn voice directions, so I almost never used it.
I take issue with the example of the iphone4 antenna as evidence of S Jobs' fallibility. The iphone4 antenna was the legacy of Mark Papermaster who was recruited from IBM to lead Apple device engineering. IIRC, the iphone4 dev including antenna design was done while Jobs was out on medical leave and the resulting fallout from antennagate led directly to Jobs firing Papermaster shortly after returning to the job.
Some of your other analysis is problematic as well because it does not mention the seemingly obvious reason for the existence of Apple Maps in the first place which is to spite Google and get them out of iOS. That is absolutely the dying will of Steve Jobs.
Apple is really turning off a lot of people that love Google services and they need to be called on it for their own good.