Archive for September, 2012

iPhone 5 and Maps

September 22nd, 2012, 6:26pm by Mike

Just stopped by a Verizon store and played with the iPhone 5. I agree with the reviews that it feels super-light (in fact, too light, I think — feels a little cheap, but nothing a battery case wouldn’t “solve”). Screen is nice, iOS 6 looks fine, but I’m not chomping at the bit. Maybe after January when I’m upgrade-eligible.

Of course the big story is Maps, Apple’s homegrown replacement for Google Maps. Reports are that it really sucks — difficulty finding places, locations not being on the right block (or the right city), etc. The reason is said to be the underlying data source — while Google Maps leverages Google’s local search and behemoth databases, Apple supposedly based Maps on TomTom and Yelp (among others) which according to experts provides a much inferior set of POIs.

If it’s true that Maps doesn’t work for normal people in normal situations, Apple’s got a real problem. I know people who are regretting their pre-order of iPhone 5, and lots who haven’t upgraded to iOS 6 for this reason. Apple’s earnings, and therefore stock price, depend on a rabid fan base religiously upgrading, since they can’t expect a ton more market penetration. You guys know more about telco and handset financials than I do, but anything that makes people not want an iPhone is a potential disaster for Apple.

Google is already thought to be working on a standalone GMaps app, which will be great for a couple of reasons — first, they’ll be competing with the preinstalled Maps app, so they’ll need good features (hopefully including turn-by-turn directions) — let’s hope they move closer to feature parity with the Android version. Second, they can update the app independently of Apple’s iOS updates, which was the only way they could update a built-in app before. Overall, I expect the standalone GMaps app for iOS to be better than the current one.

Personally, I’m waiting for the untethered JB before going to iOS6 (won’t be long now, tethered JB already available), and by the time that comes around, there will undoubtedly be a way to redirect Maps links inside software to GMaps instead of Apple Maps (similar to how there are tweaks now redirecting links to non-Safari browsers, like Chrome, which I’m using). Too bad there’s no way this will be an option without jailbreaking — I’ll bet that option will appeal to lots of iPhone users. I wonder if more people will jailbreak?

I’m interested to hear real people’s experiences with Maps. In my quick trial at the Verizon Store, it was fine — no major problems, but nothing that seemed any better than GMaps, either. In other words, if Apple Maps were available as a standalone app, I doubt I’d install it, since I’m happy enough with GMaps.

iPhone 5: Liveblogging the Liveblogs

September 12th, 2012, 1:00pm by Jake

A Pyslent tradition.

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