The much anticipated release of iOS 6 came to a head yesterday, as millions of iOS users were finally able to download the latest update to Apple's popular software.
And the verdict? Mixed, to say the least. The most glaring issues - and thus the most written about - are the perceived inconsistencies in the mapping application.
Using data from navigation specialist TomTom, Apple's first foray into mapping is a significant departure from the previously integrated Google Maps.
Apple touts on their website:
"Beautifully designed from the ground up (and the sky down), Maps changes the way you see the world."
Despite this lofty proclamation, consumers are up in arms with a raft of inaccurate information: Businesses are showing up at the wrong addresses while other businesses are not even coming up in search; some towns are completely missing; the quality of the satellite imagery leaves much to be desired; and the app seems to ignore the current location for search in favor of the phone's area code, leading to directions from New Orleans to Philadelphia when searching "City hall."
In addition, the app lacks any native integration with public transportation - a huge disadvantage to those who previously relied on Google Maps for their transit directions. Transit searches now open a search in the AppStore for "routing apps," which is a boon for developers but not for the user experience - quite a departure from Apple's much-beloved focus on the user.
The growing pains were to be expected with such a fundamental shift in services, but overall Apple's take on mapping shows significant promise - for both the user and Yelp - as the company heavily integrates Yelp in a clear attempt to compete with Google+ Local:
- Yelp reviews are integrated right into the interface, offering easy browsing of businesses from the maps page
- Photos are pulled up elegantly within the business listing interface, acting as a slideshow background behind the business' hours, star review rating, and other information
- More Yelp reviews and photos are available on the tabbed business listing interface
- Further integration with Yelp allow users to Check-in, write a tip and post photos of the business on Yelp
The application also seems to load faster, is much more accurate in regards to a user's actual location, has audible turn-by-turn directions, and has a more elegant interface that is easier to read than Google's utilitarian take.
There has been enough blogosphere backlash about key mapping deficiencies to elicit a response from mapmaker TomTom.
In a statement to the BBC, a spokesperson defended their involvement in Apple's maps app:
"The user experience is determined by adding additional features to the map application such as visual imagery. User experience fully depends on the choices these manufacturers make.
We are confident about our map quality, as selling 65 million portable navigation devices across the world and more than 1.4m TomTom apps for iPhone in the past two years reaffirms this quality."
Apple has yet to respond to the complaints about their mapping application.