Apple's Bad Hair Day: Should the iOS 6 map failure keep you from upgrading your iPhone?

Posted by Davy Mears on October 2, 2012

The level of anticipation leading up to the release of Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 6, was rivaled only by the announcement of the iPhone 5. Some even touted iOS 6 (and its 200 new features) as a better upgrade than the new iPhone. Just 24 hours after it was released to the general public, iOS 6 had a 15% adoption rate according to Chitika, an online ad network and data analytics firm. That's a staggering number considering Android's latest OS took two months to reach 1.5% saturation. Initial reviews were positive as users showed off their panoramic photos on Instagram, launched their apps via voice commands, and used Passbook for movie passes. Apple's stock prices soared to all-time highs.

And then a chink was found in iOS 6's armor: the native Maps app, which up until now has relied on Google's stellar mapping service, was replaced with data Apple purchased or gathered themselves. To put it succinctly, it wasn’t ready for prime time. Twitter has exploded with complaints of inaccurate directions. Blogs have popped up displaying screenshots of inaccurate satellite imagery. Looking for street views or transit directions? They are incomplete or non-existent in some cities. Labels are pinned inaccurately and there are many reports of users being unable to find locations by address or name.

The questions are: If you haven't already done so, should you upgrade your iPhone to iOS 6? Should you purchase the iPhone 5 which runs iOS 6 out-of-the-box?

There are some compelling reasons to upgrade. Even if you have the iPhone 3GS or 4 you will not see any noticeable degradation in performance. It will feel about the same as running iOS 5. 3GS and 4 users will get the new, shared Photo Stream, Facebook integration, Passbook, Do Not Disturb, and VIPs. If you have the 4S or upgrade to the new iPhone 5 you also get an enhanced Siri, FaceTime over cellular, Camera with native panorama, and of course the Turn by Turn and Flyover Maps.

Are these new features worth the inconvenience you may experience if you rely on your iPhone for maps and navigation? My opinion is a definite yes. If the current state of Maps is a major concern to you, you may consider one of the alternatives to the native Maps app. Apple has also acknowledged that their new Maps app is a work in progress and some expect improvements to arrive soon.

Should you decide to upgrade your current iPhone to iOS 6, be sure that you have a full battery charge available or are plugged in. Also make sure that you have a minimum of 2.5GB of storage space available.

Despite the misstep Apple has taken with Maps, I fully expect they will maintain their dominance. They survived batterygate and antennagate. Their maps technology will improve with time, and users will continue to flock to brick-and-mortar and online stores each year when the new iPhone is released.

Have you had any experiences with the new phone or iOS upgrade? Tell us about it in the comments below, or tweet your responses to us using the hashtag #mcgblog.