Urban Outfitters is never buying another cash register again (via Business Insider), instead relying on Apple’s iPad and iPod touch devices to handle payments in over 400 stores. The move is both functional — saves space, saves money (about 1/5 less than a traditional cash register system), dynamic content — as well as aesthetic (let’s face it, cash registers are ugly machines). So the next time you need a pair of skinny jeans, a t-shirt with a mustache on it, or bright pink headphones, you’ll probably pay for them on an Apple product.
I got so worked up over Gina Smith’s assertion that Apple has “lost its sense of direction” that I just had to break her article down and set the record straight. Looking further into it, does this look like a product release from a company that doesn’t know where it’s going?
Did you hear? Apple released a major software update for its mobile devices and included as one of the features is a ground-up rebuild of its Maps app. As it turns out, creating a Maps app from scratch when the reigning king of mapping software (Google, of course) is the other option (and a good one at that).
So, those of us with half a brain are aware of the situation and have a certain degree of latitude when it comes to these things (not that we’re excusing Apple’s misstep, we just understand the bigger picture).
Then, there are those morons that feel the need to bring in the S.W.A.T. team to handle a purse-snatcher — I’m looking at you, Gina Smith (sfgate.com).
Apple’s got a problem. And it’s getting so big and so bad that Internet users are dubbing it MapGate.
No, it’s not. And no, they aren’t. The only people calling it MapGate are moron tech writers that assume they’re the first ones to think of it.
The new app essentially replaced the popular Google Maps app users expected to find there as well.
The only users that were “expecting” to find Google Maps on their iPhones after the upgrade were the ones that blindly installed the update without reading, or hearing, anything about it previously. And since this stuff is scattered all over the Internet well in advance, and Apple itself publicly demoed Maps for iOS 6 a couple times before the public got it, I’m fairly certain the number of people assuming Google Maps would still be a default app on their iDevice is pretty small.
Google’s YouTube, it’s worth noting, is also missing from the upgrade.
Also worth noting, which Smith conveniently did not, is that YouTube is now a standalone app available for free from the App Store. I guess that nugget didn’t register as a pageview-grabbing tidbit.
The maps app, and other buggy problems with iOS 6, which was released Sept. 19, have tech experts wondering whether it may signal that Apple, known for top-quality system software releases, has lost its sense of direction.
Apparently Apple has “lost its sense of direction” which I’m sure was a proud moment in Smith’s day — coming up with that play on words. This is the same Apple that is the most valuable company on the planet and just debuted a new device that sold out in 1 hour and is expected to sell 170 million devices this year, right? Sense. Of. Direction.
And now, the gem:
“This is the second time Apple has unleashed a beta product on the public post the death of (late Apple CEO) Steve Jobs,” Londis said. “Apple Siri was the first,” he said, referring to the iPhone’s voice-activated assistant.
He pointed out that Apple used to have a rule forbidding release of beta software when Jobs was in charge. “Apple is letting the public vet the software. This is something Jobs never would have done.”
Piece. Of. Crap. Apple forbade beta products? Mac OS X beta. FaceTime for Mac beta. iWork.com beta. All while Jobs was alive and kicking.
And, to say that Jobs (or anyone for that matter) would or would not have done something if they were alive is completely beyond the scope of responsible reporting. Sure, it’s a great soundbite and headline, but a total waste of space otherwise.
Is the Maps debacle overblown by snarky tech journalists or a real issue that real people actually care about? Let me know in the comments!
In a rare admission of a misstep from Apple, its CEO, Tim Cook, has posted a public letter acknowledging the underwhelming launch of Maps for iOS 6. Cook explained that Apple had always wanted to create a better map experience than Google’s initial offering, but in order to do so, had to start from scratch.
Cook also notes that with 100 million users contributing over 500 million search results, Maps is going to get better in a hurry (the data is curated on servers so Maps will improve dynamically, not through iOS updates as many other Apple apps).
Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.
[Read the entire letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook.]
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MG Seigler wrote this post about Google Chrome, but I think it adds perspective to Apple’s approach — Less is more.
What started as a fresh, fast answer to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer at the height of its dominance, eventually became a slow, buggy, bloated turd.
I’d say one of Apple’s biggest goals is to not create bloated turds. It’s probably up on a white board somewhere in Cupertino. “No bloated turds!”
While other companies are cramming as much as they can into their products, Apple is streamlining their products as much as they can. They don’t even put in features that people ask for unless Apple decides it is right for the product.