TechCrunch is out with a story today with details on why some of the mapping features originally scheduled for iOS 8 didn’t make the cut at Apple’s WWDC keynote last week. The report quotes a few sources close to the mapping teams that say most of the improvements originally planned for iOS 8 weren’t finished on time due to talent departures and internal politics:
Why didn’t they appear? One tipster says it was a personnel issue: “Many developers left the company, no map improvements planned for iOS 8 release were finished in time. Mostly it was failure of project managers and engineering project managers, tasks were very badly planned, developers had to switch multiple times from project to project.”… It’s a take that is both contested and corroborated by our other source. “I would say that planning, project management and internal politics issues were a much more significant contributor to the failure to complete projects than developers leaving the group,” the source said.
We reported leading up to WWDC that the transit directions in iOS 8 might be pushed back to instead focus on other priorities.
While the TechCrunch report doesn’t mention any names, we do know that the mapping team has lost a few key people recently. Back in March, reports popped up that Cathy Edwards, who happened to be in charge of Maps Quality after joining Apple through the company’s acquisition of Chomp. The reason behind Cathy’s departure was unknown at the time, but we’ve learned from sources that disagreements with employees on the Maps team working under Edwards and an opposition to her management style lead to problems on the Maps team and ultimately her leaving in April. Apple also lost key Maps team member Jared Waldman from Placebase who worked as Head of Geo at Apple Maps until late last year. In addition, we’ve heard from former employees of the mapping team that recently left the company due to issues with Edwards and management of the Maps team.
9to5Mac has viewed email exchanges between employees regarding several complaints filed about Edwards and requests for investigations by Apple into her treatment of employees.
We previously reported that Apple was working on a number of new mapping features that it was originally planning for iOS 8 and most of those features actually appeared at Apple’s WWDC last week. Those features included improved data, indoor mapping features, and public transit. We also mentioned augmented reality modes slated for future versions of iOS 8. On top of improved data (Flyover city tours, Vector maps in China, Navigation for China), Apple also made a big push into indoor mapping this year, leaving public transit as the only feature missing from iOS 8 at WWDC.
A former Maps team member told 9to5Mac:
The problem with maps is that iTunes is running maps, the don’t want to give up control to people with map experience. Their are no directors in maps with map experience… The EPMs have a difficult role. It’s hard to get a developer to a meeting, managers would limit the communication with the EPMs and show up once a week to daily meetings.
It’s worth noting that iOS 8 is currently missing a lot of features that Apple DID announce, so there is always a possibility that public transit and other mapping features could arrive by the time the new OS goes public this fall. If Apple’s team is truly not running as smoothly as it would like, it may have held off on announcing the feature until an ETA was more clear.