Opinion: Goodbye September, You Sucked!

Here I sit at my PC at the end of September 2012 and wonder where all the time went. Looking back on this past month, “lackluster” is the only thing I can come up with to describe it. Maybe I am just a little extra grumpy today and if that is the case, please accept my apologies up front. However, I can’t help but look at this past month and not wonder what good came from it. My colleagues and I have conversed back and forth several times about how dry the news cycles seem to be in regards to the tech industry. Not that there isn’t any news, but most of it lacks any pizzazz or appeal for our audience. This could be the result of an abysmal global economy. However, I believe there is a greater underlying issue and the wretched economy is merely a symptom of that issue. The issue I speak of is the severe lack of INNOVATION! Google search defines innovate:

 Make changes in something established, esp. by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.

We’ve had no shortage of press releases from high tech vendors touting their innovation, but I ask you, which of those supposed innovations has made you want to dump out your pocketbook and go shopping? To be honest, this reality isn’t all bad, that is if you have the ability to think creatively and the guts to take a risk in this market.

Exhibit A

In my case against the tech industry, let me introduce exhibit A, Apple. Go to Apple’s website, http://www.apple.com/ios/whats-new/, and see “what’s new”. Notice, I went ahead and put the entire URL there because I want you to see that Apple literally put the words “whats-new” in the link. Now glance down the page and tell me what is the first thing you see listed. Here’s what I see, “Maps Take a Whole New Turn”. Seriously I don’t even know where to begin here. Let’s start with their original logic. You’re telling me that with all the genius that resides in the headquarters of Apple, the most innovative new thing they could add to their IOS was a map? Please let me jump off the couch, go trade in my iPhone 4S, which by the way, many AT&T users have found that their upgrades aren’t available for upgrade to the iPhone 5 yet, and shell out massive dough for an upgrade. Of course, if you have the iPhone 4S, you can upgrade its IOS to 6 for free, but then you’ll probably end up like my boss who came to me freaking out because he no longer has Google Maps anymore. But Apple gave you a map, right? Yeah and unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you know by now that Apple CEO, Tim Cook, had to write a public apology for the horrid piece of work their map turned out to be. Now, to my second question. Why in the world is that stupid map still listed as your number one addition on your IOS 6 “what’s new” page? Unfortunately, the lack of innovation doesn’t stop there. Siri gets some tweaks by adding additional languages and letting you ask for sports scores. Facebook is much more integrated into IOS 6. Yet with all these lackluster features, people are flocking to get their iPhone 5’s. This to me, is beyond all logic and speaks volumes about the cult that is Apple. Now there are some who believe Apple is going to pull us out of the recession. Folks I don’t know if you realize that kicking out Google Maps and YouTube from Apple makes them more of a closed system. A closed system stands to help no one besides the ones inside that closed system.

Tim Cook Apologizes For Maps, Suggests Alternatives Including Google Maps

Apple ditched Google Maps in favor of its own Mapping service in iOS 6, and promised that it will be the most advanced mapping app with 3D buildings and effects. However, once the iPhone 5 and then iOS 6 were released, everyone realized that Apple had made false claims. The new Maps app in iOS 6 is much inferior to its competition especially Google Maps and lacks a lot of detail. Over the last couple of weeks, jokes about the new Maps app in iOS 6 have been flowing right, left and center and Apple has been heavily criticized for providing its users with a service that barely works.

Today, Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, has written an open letter to its customers accepting that the company “fell short on [its] commitment” to deliver a world class experience with its Maps app. The letter then states that Apple is “extremely sorry for the frustration” the new Maps has caused to its customers, and that the company is doing “everything” they can to make the experience better. The letter also states that as more and more iOS 6 customers will use the Maps, the better the service will get.

Tim Cook even went on to suggest iOS 6 users some other alternatives to Maps including Bing, MapQuest, Waze or Google and Nokia maps. While suggesting other alternative Maps service from Apple is a bold move, the company should not have removed Google Maps from iOS 6 or should have given users a warning who were upgrading from iOS 5 to iOS 6.

Below is the full letter from Tim Cook -:

To our customers,

At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.

There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you.

While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.

Tim Cook
Apple’s CEO