Apple dismisses manager following maps fiasco on iPhone 5

28 Nov 2012

The iPhone 5

Apple has reportedly dismissed the manager responsible for the troubled mapping software that accompanied the launch of iOS 6 and the iPhone 5. Apple is understood to have enlisted outside help from GPS giant TomTom to fix glaring navigation and landmark errors.

The launch of its own Maps app with an impressive 3D mapping capability and the dropping of Google Maps was supposed to be a waypoint to the future for Apple as a vendor of applications every bit as exciting as the hardware they featured on.

But its mapping software turned out to be a source of embarrassment for Apple, with glaring mistakes and poor rendering. It even gave a sleepy Dublin suburb its own airport.

Apple’s management team had to apologise to the public – something that never would have happened in Steve Jobs’ day – and even encouraged users to try Google Maps instead.

What should have been the waypoint to an exciting new era instead became an opportunity for other maps providers to rush their products into the gap. Google came up with a rejuvenated Google Maps for iOS 6 devices and Nokia found a new sense of purpose with its Here Maps app.

According to Bloomberg, Richard Williamson, who oversaw Apple’s mapping team, was pushed out by SVP Eddy Cue, who took additional responsibility for Siri and Maps as part of a management shake-up at Apple last month.

The mapping debacle hasn’t in any way hurt sales of the iPhone 5 and yesterday it emerged that the iPhone 5 propelled iOS back into the No 1 spot in the US smartphone market, according to Kantar.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years