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

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.