Why is the Press Still Talking About Apple Maps?

The key story broke not long after Sept 21, the day users got their hands on the device. The story, in short: the app isn’t too good for navigation and points of interest are in the wrong place. As I write, on Oct 1, the situation is pretty much the same. The app still isn’t very good. The only news of significance popped up on Friday, when Apple’s Tim Cook apologized for the poor performance and promised to do better. Why then has this story continued to smolder for the last 10 days?

It’s Fun

It’s fun to find errors in others’ work, so journalists and non-journalists are curating collections of Apple Maps bungles. Here’s one from the Huffington Post.


It’s Easy to Localize


It’s simple, with the app in hand, to find a local error and write a story about it. That goes  for locations all over the world. The New York Times examined the situation in Japan.


It’s Easy to Compare


A stock tech story on mapping is a simple comparison with whatever incumbant one choses. In this case, Google Maps was the obvious choice, but here’s a comparison with Nokia Map from WMPowerUser.


It’s Easy to Speculate on What Went Wrong


Lot’s of people have done that, some from the business perspective others from the industry perspective. SEO Ireland took a shot at the question. I give credence to those in the industry who know how such things work. (Prioleau, Dobson)


It’s Easy to Make a Big Deal of the Apology


Many suggest that the formal apology means that Apple will now pay attention. I suspect it was paying attention to the noise before Friday. No, the apology was a result of Apple’s internal communications professionals convincing the CEO he had to say something. A Washington Post blog dissected the letter.



It’s Easy to Draw Page Views with “Apple” in the Headline


Today both GigaOm and ReadWriteWeb punched up their numbers when the former reported on a study suggested only one in 25 new users were using the new Maps App. The latter suggested the conclusion was not appropriate.


It’s Easy to Give Advice from Afar


The Monday Morning Quarterbacking begin last week with Dobson’s suggestions of what to do and even Directions Magazine chimed in with an acquisition suggestion.


It’s Easy to Make a List of Alternatives


Anyone can search the App Store for other mapping apps and put together a list. Competitors have use the opportunity to plug their own wares (see for example Microsoft). Here’s a list from Forbes.


It’s Not Easy to Find an Expert and Have them Evaluate the Situation


And, yet, some publications did. I thought this article from TechCrunch by Grant Ritchie (the CEO and founder of Locationary, which offers a platform for local business profiles and POI data) helped illuminate and educate. 


Sadly, this flurry of excitement will continue until an update for the app comes out. Only then will most publications go back to their “gee whiz only” coverage of mapping and GIS. I can’t wait.

Published Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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