Personnel issues and internal politics blamed for lack of iOS 8 Maps announcements at WWDC

By , Jun 9, 2014

iPhone 5 (white, three-up, Maps)

Mark Gurman has established himself as the most reliable Apple blogger out there so we were confused seeing his sources fail him so badly in predicting announcements Apple should’ve made at WWDC.

For instance, he called for new hardware at WWDC, but Apple’s developers conference focused – rather predictably, I should add – on software.

Gurman also said Apple would give OS X a larger presence at the five-day event whereas the company didn’t discriminate between iOS 8 and Yosemite.

Most importantly, he made several claims concerning Apple taking iOS 8 Maps to the next level by adding public transit directions, a car finding feature, more points of interests, better labels and so forth. In reality, the Cupertino firm only briefly mentioned that it’s updated iOS 8 Maps in China with vector graphics. So, what’s going on here?

According to TechCrunch writer Ingrid Lunden, personnel issues coupled with internal politics and bad planning forced Maps developers to switch multiple times from project to project, with some even leaving the company.

According to one tipster who spoke to the author:

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.

Another source reportedly corroborated the notion:

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.

That being said, a source underscored that there are indeed “multiple improvements” in regard to Apple Maps. As it turns out, it’s something that just didn’t make the cut in iOS 8.

Frankly speaking, we won’t really know whether Gurman was right or wrong until Apple delivers the Maps enhancements he reported on. It’s quite possible his sources were spot on from the onset, meaning Apple probably planned on revealing a much-improved Maps at WWDC all along, before changing its mind at the last minute for the reasons outlined above.

That being said, Gurman still has the strongest track record and remains my favorite blogger when it comes to breaking Apple news. He was largely responsible for leaking the iPhone 5, iPhone 5s and iOS 7 ahead of their respective announcements, for example.

On the other hand, Tim Cook promised to double down on secrecy so this could be making good on that promise. In the months and weeks leading up to WWDC, for example, no one really saw custom iOS 8 keyboards coming.

Moreover, not one blogger called for a much more extensible iOS 8 and some of the headline features like Continuity and Handoff flew under everyone’s radar.

In addition to vector tiles in China, Apple is also making it easy for venue owners to add more indoor positioning data, but that’s it for Apple Maps in iOS 8. It’s fairly safe to speculate that any new Maps features would be delivered in the form of an iOS 8 software update.

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  • diggitydang

    I use Google Maps anyway… and jailbreak tweak allows that to be my default maps app. I’m happy… but I can understand the frustration of users that either don’t like Google Maps or don’t have their device JB’n to make it the default.

    • Chris Tangler

      what do you use to make it default? i had this feature in ios 6 JB but cant remember what it was that allowed this

      • mav3rick

        MapsOpener

    • leart

      You cant really make google maps default, all the apps will still use the default apple map to get their information. 

      • diggitydang

        If you’re Jailbroken, you can use MapsOpener and it will open Google Maps instead of stock Maps.

      • leart

        Yes but the apps like I said will continue to use apple maps to get their information. I tested that tweak since when it come out in 2012 and its not that good

      • diggitydang

        Crap, sorry… MapsOpener was what I used before iOS7 and I was going by memory earlier. To change the maps in iOS7, I use Browser Changer, which has an option to change the Maps to Google Maps (in the Settings). That works for me – tested on iMessage and it takes me to Google Maps with an iMessage’d address.

  • abdullah575

    my be in iOS 8.1 ??

  • Micky Ganon

    WAZE is the best !!

    • erod434

      Google bought waze so all its information is being integrated into Google maps.

  • Tony

    I would assume at some point since keyboards can be allowed access across the board on your device that apple will open up additional defaults down the road such as installing a different browser and even maps. A choice of which app you would like to have default really does need to happen. Jailbreaks can do it, but again I feel like some day apple will make an option so they aren’t the ones holding the bag on why an update to their program wasn’t done.

    • Tobias9413

      I can’t see this happening. Allowing users to choose different keyboards? Only after 8 OS did it happen. Allowing users to change the stock apps that Apple created for the users to be used only by the users? Maybe iOS 100. But really, Apple won’t allow something like this. It’ll take away from the experience of having an iOS device.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Does having third party keyboards not take away from the iOS typing experience? The answer of course is a resounding ‘yes’. I would like to think that Apple realises that users like to have a certain level of choice and Tim Cook has said that many times iOS is going to become more open. The problem is Apple likes to do everything securely and safely plus as you said they like to control the majority of the user experience…

      • Tony

        Agreed, at some point down the line they’ll have to make things more open unless they plan to buy every company that comes up with a better way of doing things. :)

  • leart

    Bring back google maps on ios please

    • Rowan09

      It’s already there. I get what you’re saying but it’s not necessary to become a slave to Google. Apple needs to just fix some issues which I’m sure they will.

      • leart

        You know that is not the same, the ios will use the apple maps for all the apps and i cant use anymore certain apps becouse in my country apple maps is just terrible. My town now it has only two streets :) and theres no way to force apps to use google map that alone is pretty useless …
        Mah lets hope that apple will improve their own maps but I really doubts that it will be in the level of google..
        I miss Steve jobs he was a perfectionist, he would never accept something that is simply broken installed on idevices

      • Rowan09

        Google forced Apple to make this decision as well. Apple didn’t want to be their slave anymore with an inferior map service compared to Android both using the same default maps. Some countries will take time but Apple didn’t focus on Maps maybe because they weren’t ready. I’m heading to Turks and Caicos and they don’t have road information there either, so it will take time. Apple will get it right, they’ve spend millions purchasing companies to help fix their issues. I use both Maps but in areas with road info I use Apple Maps most of the time. Google maps have better POIs but Apple maps is faster and when I compared 2 addresses on my iPhone and Note 2, the iPhone gave me faster directions as default.

      • leart

        To be honest i dont really care abut apples reasons to put out google maps from ios, the best device deserve the best maps, point. In ios 5 times I used to travel in my country just making routes in iphone, now to find streets and places I have to open google maps since the apple map dont give to me any information just a satellite view.
        In your point of view maybe the apple map is not that bad but for me it is.

      • Rowan09

        I’m not trying to convince you because as I stated I’m going to Turks and Caicos and I will not be able to use it there. When I was in Jamaica I used Apple maps without service and it worked fine (neither it or Google gives turn by turn though). In your country Apple needs to get data and street names, etc. They should show us more about maps before launching the new devices this year in Setember.

      • leart

        i live in balkans, europe, the only way to convince me is to make apple maps works like they used to do in ios 5.
        I told you in your county maybe your happy with new maps , but i cant say the same.
        cant use some of my favorite apps from two years

      • Rowan09

        I understand, hopefully they get street info where you are located by Semtember.

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Really there’s only one thing wrong with Apples Maps and that’s the data. If Apple fixes the data and adds public transit they’ve got themselves a recipe for the perfect maps app…

      • Rowan09

        I use to think the same thing but don’t as much anymore. I typed in an address and it took me to a similar address in a different area. I was determined to figure it out. When I type in 14681 it worked, when I typed 146 81 it took me to the wrong place. Apple needs to make sure the app predicts addresses better as well. They bought hop stop so I would assume they will add public transportation.

      • Antzboogie

        Why did Google force Apple to come out with their own Maps? If you have time to answer thanks.

      • Rowan09

        Either come out with their own or choose someone else. Remember Google maps on the iPhone had no turn by turn while Android had turn by turn. Apple wanted turn by turn and Google wanted to control maps however it felt while it was the iPhone. Apple filed their obligation with Google for maps so they came out with their own maps. Apple wanted to keep the control of a now direct competitor from their products (Android). This is the reason they didn’t make YouTube a stock app anymore, they didn’t want to sign a new contract with Google.

    • Eni

      are you from Albania leart?

      • leart

        not exactly

      • Eni

        Kosovo then?

      • leart

        I dont want to give specifics, sorry

      • Eni

        ok pa problem

      • leart
  • Yujin

    I think that they are just saving maps info for iPhone 6 keynote. Maybe it will have a better tracking as chips may be very efficient in managing resources. In any case, most of is use google maps but we just need to wait and see

    • Matt

      I am thinking that the rumored split screen multitasking will appear at that keynote, because of the larger screened devices. Hopefully both!

      • http://batman-news.com Jason Baroni

        I am praying for it and I think it is completely possible to happen. Lets wait!

  • Antzboogie

    Wow, can’t believe what I just read Apple, should just just admit their faults and promise to get better. Maybe not to us, but in private if anything, because the public finds out one way or another. Let us choose what we want as our iPhones default maps, keyboards, search engine, etc everything. In America its freedom that makes us who we are lets keep it that way. Don’t get mad when your wrong because admitting your wrong and accepting help is whats real!!

    • Rowan09

      They did accept the screw up, Tim Cook even apologized for it. Freedom does not mean do whatever you please. Does Google allow anyone to delete stock apps like Google maps, YouTube, etc, no it’s because it’s how they make money from advertising. Googles business model is not the same as Apple’s model so it’s hard to compare the two in this case. We still have until September to see what happens. Maps did improve a lot since it’s inception, so they seem to be heading in the right direction.

      • http://batman-news.com Jason Baroni

        Yes, you are totally right. Besides, improvements can’t come from one year to another just because Apple bought a couple of startups. Chaning is not that easy, and I think Apple is handling it pretty well. I’ve seen many people chosing their Maps than Google’s. For what is worth on smartphones, I am one of those guys. Believe it or not, Apple’s location services are more accurate than Google’s around the locations I need most. People need to realize that Apple started from the zero and in times like these. I am sure it looks much better than Google’s first two 3 years of Maps.

      • Rowan09

        I use Apple Maps as my default maps and if I can’t find a POI through search, I try Google maps. I usually find the place I’m looking for most of the time. I used Apple maps to take a test and other people were late and got lost using Google maps, so it’s not perfect either.

      • http://batman-news.com Jason Baroni

        I do the same. It’s the best of both worlds. People should stop thinking they have to choose a side, just one service for their needs.