Built into the new iOS6 operating systems for iPhones, iPads, and iPods, Apple Maps is a new online mapping app meant to circumnavigate Google Maps' dominance in mobile phone mapping. Apple kicked Google Maps off their new operating system, replacing it with their own in-house Apple Maps. Now that the new Apple Maps app is available for public use, iPhone users hate it so much, they're calling this "The Mapocalypse".
To be fair, nearly every other aspect of iOS 6 is well-reviewed and has made a lovely impression on early adopters. The Facebook integration on iOS 6 makes Facebooking easier, your voice assistant Siri is far smarter and more capable than ever, and the Passbook feature lets you use your iPhone for ticketless boarding passes, movie tickets, and sporting events or concerts.
How bad, though, is Apple Maps? They left out the Statue of Liberty. Major cities are named incorrectly. Building and bridges are portrayed as melting, Salvador Dali-style. Early reviews indicate that Apple Maps for iOS 6 a buggy concoction of misnamed locations, incorrect directions, and low-resolution sloppiness. They've even started a Tumblr dedicated to the worst screw-ups on iOS 6 Maps.
CNET has a damning slideshow comparing the old Apple Maps to the new Apple Maps. The loss of locational detail in the "upgrade" is quite significant, and would surely make getting around much more difficult. Plus, you know, buildings melting and cities and landmarks named incorrectly.
"Google Maps War With Apple Is Over," declares Forbes magazine, "Google Won."
Fox News' Zach Epstein has a firsthand account of using iOS 6 Maps, and writes, "A search performed just a few days ago for a restaurant I was standing no more than 100 feet away from yielded a result in Kansas. I was in New Jersey at the time."
In a humorous op-ed on Mashable, Chris Taylor calls the new Apple Maps "almost unusably bad," and notes, "Maps takes all the trust Apple has built up among its users over the years — trust that its products just work — and squanders nearly all of it in one go."
If you're on an iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, or an iPhone 3GS, the iPad 2 or the new iPad, or an iPod Touch, you would need to actively download iOS 6 to get the great new operating system but then get stuck with the awful mapping application.
If you're buying the new iPhone 5 (available tomorrow!), you do not have a choice. You get iOS 6 and the flopping Maps app no matter what.
You may not stay lost for long, iPhone 5 users. TechCrunch reports that Google is working on a Google Maps app for iOS 6, though the blog wonders if Google won't delay the release just to make sure people stay mad at Apple for a good, long while.