Surviving the Mapocalypse: Apple's map app careens off-course

Apple's Maps is so spectacularly bad it's inspired its own Internet meme. Funny? You bet. But it's also proof that the Jobs era truly is over

In case you haven't heard, there's a new iPhone available today, along with a spiffy new operating system: iOS6. Among the many new treasures available with it is a new home-grown Apple Maps app, replacing Google Maps.

The result? Utter hilarity. Apple Maps is spectacularly bad -- so bad it has earned itself its own Internet meme: The Mapocalypse.

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This is Apple's most spectacular f**k up in recent memory, easily surpassing the "you're holding it the wrong way" reception problems with the iPhone 4's external antenna. That glitch really only affected a handful of people -- literally, left handed people. Apple Maps (Craps?) is a bounty that can be enjoyed by all.

The Verge has an excellent slide show displaying the various mistakes, omissions, and downright surreal images being produced by the app. (There's also a Tumblr blog devoted to it.) If Salvador Dali designed maps, he couldn't have done a better job than this image of freeways wiggling like a heat mirage. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the Dali estate sues Apple for trademark infringement.

In the Big Apple, the Maps app was unable to locate Apple's famous 5th Avenue shrine store and somehow managed to leave out the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statute of Liberty entirely.

But the problems across the pond were much worse. Apple Maps mistook a cathedral in Stockholm for a Burger King. Large swaths of London and Tokyo were missing entirely. There's a tiny hamlet in Austria where every street name starts with the F word. And then there's this:

Ireland Minister for Justice Alan Shatter issued a statement saying he was concerned that a 35-acre garden and farm called Airfield in his district had been mislabeled with an airport icon. "Clearly the designation is not only wrong but is dangerously misleading," said Shatter.

Mr. Minister, a Delta 767 is asking for clearance to land in the petunia patch. What shall we tell them?

Not surprisingly, Twitter is abuzz with snarky tweets and images captured from iOS6 devices, as well as the inevitable parody accounts.

apple io6 tweet cropped.png

The Maps snafu (Mapsfu?) is so bad that Apple actually felt compelled to comment. You know things are bad when Apple deigns to talk to the press during non-Special Event hours. Apple spokesbiped Trudy Miller told AllThings D's John Paczkowski:

"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."

Sorry Trudy, I don't think that's possible. It just doesn't get any better than this. But I do appreciate the lesson in how to make a mea culpa without actually acknowledging the problem or apologizing for the screwup. That woman has a future in politics.

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