In September 2012, Apple Maps was launched and replaced Google Maps as the default mapping service on iOS. But Apple Maps did not get off to a good start to say the least. Landmarks were mislabeled, street names and cities misspelled, countries were missing, and in Australia, the app was called life threatening after it led some motorists to a dangerous part of the Australian bush. Apple Maps was performing so poorly at first, that Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized and told iPhone users to use Google Maps or other competing mapping apps while the company was improving it.
Even after Apple improved Maps, it still wasn't as polished and as useful as Google Maps. As a result, the company has decided to rebuild the app. The tech giant says that it will no longer rely on third party mapping data from providers like TomTom. So Apple is rolling out a fleet of vans equipped with cameras and sensors to collect its own mapping data. By collecting the data itself, Apple says it will be able to improve the quality of the directions and maps that are produced by the app.
It plans on debuting the new Apple Maps in San Francisco and the Bay area with the next iOS 12 beta. By next fall, the northern part of California will be covered. Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, says that Apple wants more accuracy in its mapping app. It also wants to provide users with faster updates to incorporate construction and other changes that would force drivers to take alternate routes. Apple even wants more accurate representation of the area surrounding a roadway, with Maps showing more of the local environment including walkways, trees and ponds.
Apple has its new vans on the road. More sophisticated than some other vehicles used to perform the same task, information collected is sent to an iPad inside the vehicle that is running special software. Hopefully, Apple has learned the lesson that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.