Apple said to tap retail store staff for advice on iOS 6 Maps app

Amid Apple's iOS 6 Map app debacle, the tech giant may be asking some of its 40,000 retail store employees for reports on errors and suggestions on improvements for its app.

The Apple Maps app has many issues -- for example the app (right) knew we were on Columbus (bottom in blue), but said we should continue on New Montgomery. We weren't even on Montgomery yet. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Rumor has it that Apple might be looking for some help on the iOS 6 Maps app from its retail store employees.

According to MacRumors, several unnamed sources have said that participating Apple stores are now allowing their staff to devote up to 40 hours per week collectively to reporting app errors and giving suggestions on how to improve Maps.

ifoAppleStore also posted the same news with a tweet that said, "So far it's voluntary: Apple retail store managers are asking store employees to report iOS 6 Maps app errors to help improve the database."

When Apple opted to boot Google Maps from its recent iOS 6 -- essentially forcing customers to use its own native app -- many users got up in arms. Complaints about Apple Maps included talk of inaccurate data, lack of details, distorted images, and erroneous directions.

Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed the growing furor over the beleaguered Map app last week, saying he was "extremely sorry" for the frustration felt by customers and vowing to improve the program. He pointed users to its competitors' apps -- including Bing, MapQuest, Waze maps apps, or using Google or Nokia's map Web sites -- while Apple works to improve its own app.

If MacRumors got it right, retail store employees will be able to be part of these improvements. Apple has about 400 retail stores worldwide with roughly 40,000 employees. Apparently, the people assigned to the task will examine the app's mapping data on iPhones and iPads in their towns and cities. It's unclear what they'll use as a litmus test in these examinations -- it could be a comparison with Google Maps, in-person verification, or something else.

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