Apple Maps app upgrade stifled by internal issues -- report

Several key improvements were planned for the app but haven't made it to iOS 8 yet, says TechCrunch. Why not?

apple-maps-app.jpg
Apple's Maps app Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Apple's Maps app may be bumping into trouble again -- this time possibly due to personnel and management problems.

Citing information from unnamed sources, TechCrunch reported Monday that Apple has been planning several improvements to the Maps app with the release of iOS 8. But those changes did not make it into the updated OS, at least not in time for its unveiling a week ago at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference.

Launched in 2012 as a replacement for Google Maps, Apple's Maps app got off to a bad start. The app quickly found itself faulted for a slew of missteps, including missing locations, wrongly-named cities, and bad directions. Apple was forced to apologize for its Maps fiasco and even went so far as to recommend that users turn to other map apps instead. The app has since recovered from some of its early growing pains but could always stand improvement. So a lack of any major new features this year will likely keep it stuck behind more robust map apps such as Google Maps and Nokia Here.

As outlined by 9to5Mac in March, the Maps app was reportedly due to receive a variety of improvements, notably more reliable data, new points of interest, public transit directions, and a cleaner interface. So why did Apple have little new to announce about its Maps app last week?

The sources who spoke with TechCrunch pointed to internal issues. One person blamed the lack of new features on the exodus of developers and the failure of project managers to adequately manage their projects. As a result, tasks were not properly planned and the remaining developers had to jump from one project to another. A second source backed up most of that information but said that poor project management and internal politics played more of a role than the exit of developers.

Whatever the reason, Apple still has a few months to tweak its Maps app before the consumer release of iOS 8. But if internal politics and project snafus are truly stalling the app's development, then iOS users may have to wait longer before any major improvements appear.

CNET contacted Apple for comment and will update the story with any further information.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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