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At this time in Apple historical past: Apple Maps launch results in firings

November 27: Today in Apple history: Apple fires Maps manager Richard Williamson November 27, 2012: Apple fires the supervisor liable for the disastrous Apple Maps app in iOS 6 after the glitchy software program delivers embarrassingly dangerous knowledge to customers all over the world.

Richard Williamson, who oversaw Apple’s mapping workforce, will get the ax from Eddy Cue, who assumes management of the mission.

Apple Maps launch: A historic misstep

The Apple Maps launch will go down as one of many largest missteps in Apple historical past. The mapping service proved subpar on many ranges. Even worse, the debacle got here within the wake of Steve Jobs’ dying, when individuals had been in search of any excuse to accuse the corporate of struggling a decline in high quality.

Sadly, the flawed Apple Maps gave these people loads of ammunition. Along with warping landscapes and distorting landmarks, the Maps app even recommended that folks steer the unsuitable manner throughout a taxiway at Alaska’s Fairbanks Worldwide Airport.

Williamson wasn’t the one high-profile exec to go down on account of the Apple Maps screwup, both. Apple additionally ousted Scott Forstall, senior vice chairman of iOS software program, after he refused to make a public apology. (Cupertino introduced Williamson’s firing weeks after Forstall’s.)

To repair the Apple Maps drawback, Apple CEO Tim Prepare dinner advisable that prospects briefly use different mapping companies. In the meantime, Cue requested that digital maps supplier TomTom NV assist repair the landmark and navigation knowledge for Apple.

“Look, the very first thing is that you simply’re embarrassed,” Cue instructed Quick Firm just a few years later, relating to his response to Maps. “Let’s simply cope with that one reality of emotion. This stuff imply so much to us, we work actually onerous, and so that you’re embarrassed. We had fully underestimated the product, the complexity of it.”

Apple Maps since then …

After Apple Maps’ disastrous launch in 2012, Cupertino made massive steps to enhance the service. The corporate began updating Apple Maps every single day, launched options like Flyover, and printed quite a few fascinating patents. (One instance: An effort to make navigation software program extra humanlike by referencing landmarks and road indicators as an alternative of simply highway names.)

Apple additionally snapped up mapping-related firms like Coherent Navigation, which helped develop a type of ultra-detailed GPS that’s correct inside centimeters versus the standard meters. Apple even utilized for permission to use drones to enhance its mapping.

The corporate reportedly spent “billions” updating its Maps app. And Cupertino continues to roll out enhanced variations of Apple Maps. iOS 15 launched 3D views of main cities all over the world. iOS 16 added the potential of planning routes with a number of stops. And iOS 17 introduced much more massive modifications, like the flexibility to obtain Apple Maps for offline use.

As Cupertino continues to layer on options (like biking instructions and displaying charging stations for electrical autos), Apple Maps has grown right into a severe competitor for Google Maps and different rivals. The truth is, nowadays, many individuals love Apple Maps! (Right here’s our information to eight secret options in Apple Maps that can allow you to find it irresistible, too.)

Nonetheless, to today, some individuals nonetheless invoke the early Apple Maps nightmare for example of tech gone unsuitable. Nonetheless, it’s onerous to fault Apple for correcting the issue because it did. Even when we by no means wish to see anybody lose a job.

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