iOS Maps has been a beleaguered product since day one, and although Apple seemed to be getting a handle of things, tipsters familiar with the company’s internal struggles are saying otherwise.
Before WWDC kicked off, details regarding Apple’s plans with iOS 8 had leaked out. Most of the things touted in those leaks indeed turned out to be true, but one particular update was completely left out of the presentation slides: Maps.
There’s no reason to believe that the Maps update wasn’t actually planned. For once, location services are booming and Apple knows it has to stay competitive to gain the edge. Second, all the touted planned updates made perfect sense: more reliable points of interest (labels for airports, highways, and parks), a refreshed interface, and public transit directions, among other things. Augmented reality was also said to be a big part of the Maps update.
So what happened? Well, according to a source speaking to Tech Crunch, “There were multiple improvements that didn’t make it into iOS8.”
One tipster tells the site that “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.”
However, another person briefed on the plans says it wasn’t so much a problem with the developers fleeing the company, as it was a politics issue.
“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.
In any case, had the developers stayed on board, these problems would have eventually been worked out. Expect some new Maps Engineering positions to appear on Apple’s Jobs site.
As for when these perks will slip into the updated Maps app, it’s anybody’s guess. But it’s fair to assume that these things won’t be ready for the iOS 8 launch in fall, considering these claims.
Apple will probably send these over to our iPhones via an incremental update – say iOS 8.1 – when things cool off between the managers and the engineers. This is undoubtedly a big blow for the Cupertino company as it struggles to rival Google’s own mapping service, which it deliberately kicked out amid their various patent disputes.
iOS 8 will most likely be released alongside the next-generation iPhone 6 sometime in the September-October timeframe.