Maps Transit

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, was leaving the company. 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.

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27 Responses to “More on why public transit directions got lost in iOS 8 Apple Maps”

  1. I was really pissed when iOS 6 took away transit directions from the default Maps application, but it’s really not a big deal with apps like Transit around. I don’t have a problem tapping one more thing. The other apps do it a lot better than Maps did anyway.

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  2. I don’t understand why they keep digging into it. They gave it a go, it didn’t work. Why lose focus, why waste resources on mapping? Google’s map product is fantastic, and there is so many 3rd party products one can get as alternative.

    I don’t understand why Apple is trying so hard at something they’re simply not good at…

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    • rogifan says:

      Because Google is a major competitor and Apple is trying as much as it can to lessen its reliance on Google services.

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      • and when will this end? after disasters online video service? another failed social network? search engine? flights search?

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      • @ rogifan : I don’t think your response makes sense. It’s not like Google is going to stop Apple from using it’s maps, that would be restraint of trade if they were the only reliable map source. It’s more likely that Google has unreasonable demands from Apple for use of it’s maps.

        At least I hope that it’s something like that, as Apple simply deciding to “go it on their own” with maps just on principle is a horrifically bad move, and something that violates Apple’s general operating principles (doing something for an emotional, spiteful reason).

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    • hmurchison says:

      The maps are fine. Google has had how many years to perfect their maps. With Apple you got vector maps when Google was sandbagging on them. You got Siri control and more. Your thoughts do not represent reality or what many developers think.

      http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/03/18/developers-prefer-apples-ios-maps-sdk-over-google-maps

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    • observer1959 says:

      What’s there to not understand? Apple partnered with Google on integrating their Map app into the groundbreaking release of iPhone. They even had them on stage bragging about it. Then Google decided they wanted their own iOS and released Android. They began to release their map app on android with all the newest bells and whistles and crippling Apples version.
      What’s there to not understand?

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    • acslater017 says:

      Google does have great search results, but you speak as if (Apple) Maps is hopelessly inferior. iOS Maps has its own strengths: 1) It features clean, attractive vector graphics that animate and zoom smoothly 2) Traffic conditions are presented much more legibly 3) It integrates directly with Siri. 4) Street View is great for seeing a storefront or house up close, but I’ve often used Apple’s 3D mode to get a quick overview of a route that’s more useful than a flat satellite view.

      In any case, Google’s app is not unassailable. It couldn’t find a gas station the other day (about 20 minutes from their HQ), then ironically put me on an infinite loop on a cloverleaf highway intersection! “go north, go south, go north”.

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  3. Reblogged this on Taste of Apple and commented:
    Very interesting look at how issues with management can impact their software development. Perhaps we will see the improvements in 8.1. However, quick reply was said to be in 7.1 and then pushed to iOS 8. Either way, let’s hope the top brass pull together their team and ensure timely and less friction filled releases.

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  4. standardpull says:

    The vast majority of project failures are due to management. After all, no manager would say that any one developer is critical to project success. If people leave for a better gig, that’s because management couldn’t take the right actions to retain them.

    Sure, you could have bad developers that are underpaid and lie until the project goes into failure mode. Again, management should be on top of such things.

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    • Agreed. And, after reading what was going on with iTunes and management’s ignoring Spotify’s draw, I worry more and more each day about Apple’s direction. The need Steve standing over them with a big stick.

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  5. I think they should really spin off the whole maps thing into another separate company. It’s sad that they didn’t get the stuff ready for WWDC, but more than that it’s indicative on a culture of constant failure with Apple Maps.

    In many many places around the world (like where I live) Apple maps is just atrocious. It’s not only the lack of transit information, it’s the fact that ALL the information on the map can sometimes be wrong. Streets are missing, walking directions are absent, car directions are faulty. Transit stations and one way streets aren’t even marked, even in the downtown. It’s just absolutely fucking horrible in every way.

    Apple is a company that excels at doing innovative, cool things, but maps is not one of them. Something like maps works best if you have a large company with thousands of employees all working on the data. Meanwhile Apple is spending time on “social” improvements to Maps, before they even have the basic data down. Maps are not sexy, they are not social, they aren’t cool, and they require thousands upon thousands of hours of boring data entry and data checking. These are things that are alien to Apple’s DNA.

    It’s been years already with no change at all in the horror that is Apple maps. They need to walk away and give the job to an entirely different sort of company, or spin it off into a subsidiary where the usual Apple way of doing things doesn’t happen at all.

    Maybe there is some big Internet engineering company out there, that already has the data that Apple is missing that could help out?

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  6. iJonni says:

    So where did this image of transit directions come from??
    I don’t get transit directions when I try in iOS 8…

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  7. I’m sorry guys. I know Apple keeps their teams close and small but… come on… do you really think they wouldn’t find developers, time, money, PM’s, etc to integrate a transit system in an App? There’s more to the eye than what we can see. Bullshit stories for click bait.

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    • Well said. People forget this is Apple we’re talking about. They won’t put it out before they are happy with it.

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      • herb02135go says:

        Are you stoned? Apple has a history of putting out mistakes, er, “beta” versions that don’t work as advertised.

        A company that touts its innovation should do better
        Now it wasn’t to be your “health information keeper”? Yea, ignoring public transportation and promoting car use goes so well with that.
        Fail. Again.

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      • re: “They won’t put it out before they are happy with it.”

        This is an an insane thing to say when we are talking about Apple’s worst-ever product. They already *did* put it out, and it sucks quite badly for the majority of users out there.

        The thing that I keep thinking as a non-car user too, is that street view is still king, and Apple doesn’t have it. The Apple maps “solution” will simply never work that well for those of us that walk and bike, especially those of us that are visual people. If I want to go somewhere, the first thing I need are visual landmarks. The first thing I need to know is what my destination looks like, so I will know it when I get there.

        The fact that using Apple maps you can never get any closer than hovering 200 feet in the air over your destination is just maddening. I’m usually looking for a store or a business of some kind. I want to see the store front so that when I walk, bus, or cycle by I know where to stop.

        Apple maps only works for cars and car directions. Period. It also doesn’t really even work for that outside of the USA except for a few select places.

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  8. borntofeel says:

    Did everyone really miss the ‘flyover yours’ that were shown as stuff that would appear in iOS8?

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  9. Lee Palisoc says:

    And I don’t understand why you guys are looking for a perfect service in their first release. Google had this kind of problem too when they first released their service. Apple Maps needs time as what Google Maps needed before. Of course you’ll say Google Maps is perfect. Why? Because they are already in the service for YEARSSSS! I like Apple Maps in my region. They are perfectly fine. I was still in the Philippines when they released iOS 6. And it was really bad. My location was totally BLANK before. Unlike now, they already had some data to put on the Maps.

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  10. I’m OK with them not providing transit directions. I feel like no matter how much work they put into it there are going to be dedicated transit apps that will do a better job, especially in larger cities where you really need it.

    I feel like this is a place where it would be smarter to let individual, specific-purpose apps shine. Just make it easy for them to link into your existing mapping architecture and into other apps (which will be easy in iOS 8 anyway) so that I don’t have to open Apple Maps just to switch over to the NY Subway Transit app that I really want to use.

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  11. rizzior says:

    Why do People on these Blogs always believe Everything they hear online when it comes to Apple.
    Apple does Everything for a Reason, so Until Apple makes a Statement in regards to their Maps Software,
    i would just wait for the iOS 8 Release.
    Why do You think they bought, (Embark, HopStop, Locationary, WiFiSlam, BroadMap & Spotsetter) For, is to give us the Consumer a much better Experience than Anything else out there, so for However long as it takes to make it The Perfect Experience, i am gonna wait.
    All this Complaining & Bitching about something that we do not know to be Factual is Totally Foolish.

    Chill out Guys. “Patience is a Virtue”

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  12. rettun1 says:

    Well I hope Apple is in the direction of launching a new OS update in the fall, and then having a .1 update that bring good new features as well. 8.1 should have transit transportation, iPad multitasking, UI refinements and more.

    Also, “Back in March, reports popped up that Cathy Edwards, who happen to be in charge of Maps Quality after joining Apple through the company’s acquisition of Chomp.” isn’t a complete sentence. Reports popped up that Cathy Edwards… what?

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  13. You know that big BETA tag in the software title? Yeah… that actually means something to Apple. This isn’t Google with perpetual beta bs.

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  14. Mark Granger says:

    Apple should bite the bullet and buy Nokia Here Maps for their management and technology. The thing Apple needs more than anything is far more detailed map data. What good is it to have beautiful 3D maps of certain cities when the directions leave you at the entrance to a mall and force you to ask for directions to the store you are trying to find? Nokia has been mapping cities in vehicles for years now. Apple needs feet on the ground and cameras in the ground and cameras in the sky if they want to compete with Google.

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  15. Marklewood at Serenity Lodge says:

    IMaps pretty much sucks. It’s one of the few things Apple doesn’t do well. I wish they would quit screwing around and get it right so I wouldn’t have to use Google Maps or others.

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  16. frankman91 says:

    “Not better than Apple’s” —>[ TRANSLATION ]—>I have never used Google Maps.

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  17. frankman91 says:

    I have several times in the hopes of supporting a major American electronics company, but I was far from impressed. Felt like a fisher price “my first smartphone”.

    A good friend of mine, and my sister in law both have iphones and HATE the map software, like their phones, HATE maps.

    Like