iOS 6 Maps are a Lost Cause for Asia, but Apple Vows to Improve

Andrew Wang
8:00 pm on Sep 21, 2012

Apple iOS 6 Maps

As an Apple fan myself, I couldn’t wait to get hold of the iPhone 5, which launched in stores in Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong today. There was much hype over the new iOS 6, and especially the new map application that looked so promising at Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) keynote launch. So out of curiosity and with much anticipation, I downloaded the new version of the OS on my iPhone 4S from here in Beijing.

Much to my surprise the new Apple Maps turned out to be a huge let down — and apparently it’s not just me who thinks that. The entire map looks very “clean,” and the grid is undeveloped and incomplete. This version of the map makes this world looked pretty boring. I explored the map around Asia and realized that besides China and Hong Kong, the rest of the countries’ map readings are either inaccurate or undeveloped.

Let’s take Singapore for instance. On the map, there are no road infrastructures, no buildings, no subway stations, except for a couple of random and isolated stations. What’s more infuriating is that it actually listed “Seletar Airport,” the former national airport of Singapore. Like ‘former’ as in decades ago.

In Taipei, Taiwan, all you get is plenty of gardens and parks. Is Taiwan all about parks and gardens to Apple? (Note, this is using maps served up by Autonavi, Apple’s China map partner)

Taipei, Taiwan

It’s the same for Indonesia, Malaysia, and probably the rest of Asia. There are only the names of the cities, and when you actually zoom in, there’s nothing on the map. Oh well, this is a big load of disappointment. The previous collaboration with Google Maps was serving its users pretty well I have to say. It really beats me to why Apple took this bold step to cut its collaboration with Google and to replicate the product with something that is – from a user point of view – shocking and unacceptable.

Apple has responded via a public statement to AllThingsD:

Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service,” said spokeswoman Trudy Miller. “We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover, turn by turn navigation, and Siri integration. 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.

I don’t know how long it will take for them to fix it, but it’s pretty clear to me that Apple has lost its way with maps.

[Source: Image]

  • Saumil

    Its the same for New Zealand too. (Jesus phone) Maps thought I had an amphibious vehicle that could walk over water and pretended there was a landmass when it was actually Auckland bay. WARNING: Keep your eyes on the road at all times.

  • Ilovegooglemap

    Seriously Apple, gimme back google map please. enough of whatever politics you have with google. but their maps are seriously awesome. Don’t ever screw your maps up, you’re losing direction.

  • Heng-Cheong Leong

    Not sure what’s your comment about Seletar Airport is really about, but the airport is still in operation.

  • Ashley

    Um, are you sure you are Singaporean? Singapore has MRT stations, not subway stations. The one I am near, Kembangan MRT, is actually on the map and is not a major station. Seletar Airport is in fact an airport, not a former airport. It is where rich guys land their private jets. Before you decry Apple maps for a lack of local knowledge, you should brush up on your own first. And this comes from an ang mo expat!!

  • haikkel

    In Singapore & Indonesia, I am back to using maps. they beat Google and Apple anytime.

  • Carina is still my favourite maps for Singapore.

  • Argyle

    When you are in Mainland China, you do not get the same maps as everywhere else in the world.

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  • haikkel

    Try App. This app allows you to download offline maps of Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia to your phone. You can then use the app even if you have no internet access.

    What is cool is also the bus timings. Click on any bus stop on the map and u get bus arrival time. Its a life saver on a daily basis.

    Download offline maps from

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