This is going to sound perhaps a bit sensationalistic, but I for one am glad that Scott Forstall got fired for refusing to take responsibility for the way Apple Maps was handled.
I do feel I have a good reason, though. Earlier today, I decided to take a hike on the nearby South Mountain Mormon Trail. Usually, I go up and I’m back down in roughly an hour or so. Today, however, I decided to explore the Hidden Valley Trail as well (thanks to a helpful Foursquare tip). It was a nice bit of added scenery, with huge rocks and an echoey canyon all to myself. Things got a bit hairy, though, as I got lost in my Spotify playlist – and quite literally as I walked and climbed over rocks – the trail wasn’t the best kept one I’ve been on, and before long I found myself easily a mile off course.
I pulled out my iPhone and confirmed via Google Maps that I was indeed off the trail, but not terribly far, so about 20 minutes later I was back en route to civilation. In the screenshot below, you can see the trails clearly defined by gray lines through the park.
I still haven’t updated my iPhone 4 to the latest version of iOS, and I won’t be doing so any time before I get my next phone (which won’t be an iPhone – not for any of these reasons, really – I just want something different). If I had done so, this is the map I would have seen:
Not nearly as helpful. I’d simply be somewhere in the green area. Awesome. I’d probably still be climbing over rocks at this point, and maybe even in a crevasse somewhere being eaten by an undiscovered species of giant rattlesnake.
I know Apple has good intentions with their own maps, and I know they have processes in place to expand upon their maps through user feedback and such. That’s all good and well, but when there’s an existing product that you pull from your dedicated users and give them something that will one day be comparable – that’s just not cool.
Disclaimer: I have no idea who actually is responsible for the way the iOS updates were structured and who decided to force Apple maps upon the iOS user base. Maybe it was Scott Forstall, but in all likelihood it was a team of corporate execs who turned a blind eye to being user friendly. Regardless, Apple should be held accountable.