Apple tapping retail employees to help out with Mapping efforts – Report

Wed, Oct 3, 2012

News, Rumors

In Tim Cook’s apology letter to iPhone users over Maps in iOS 6, the Apple CEO said that Apple will “keep on working non-stop until Maps” lives up to the same high standard Apple employs across the rest of its hardware and software line.

To that end, we’ve seen reports that Apple has already taken to aggressively recruiting mapping experts from Google and now comes an interesting report courtesy of MacRumors which notes that Apple is beginning to rollout a program wherein Apple’s fleet of retail employees will help shore up the holes in Apple’s Mapping application. The report was since verified by a tweet from ifoAppleStore’s Gary Allen who noted that the initiative is voluntary and consists of store employees reporting iOS 6 Map errors in an effort to make Apple’s database that much more accurate.

Details on the initiative remain unclear, but multiple sources have indicated that participating stores will dedicate 40 hours of staff time per week, distributed among a number of employees, to manually examine¬†Apple’s mapping data in their areas and submit corrections and improvements.

It is unknown exactly what procedures will be used to examine the data, whether it simply be side-by-side comparisons with Google Maps data or if more sophisticated efforts such as in-person verification will be used.

Interesting stuff, and we wonder how soon it will take for Apple’s ongoing efforts with Maps to actually bear some fruit. Either way, and despite the fact that Maps is reportedly the second most used feature on smartphones, the iPhone 5 seems to still be selling like hotcakes.

Apple of course has been on the receiving end of a lot of crtiticism over the glaring shortcomings in Maps in iOS 6, and there are certainly no shortage of photos exemplifying those growing pains. It’s worth nothing that Apple’s contract with Google as a mapping partner still had one year remaining, according to reports. Apple however surprised the folks over in Mountain View when it announced at this year’s WWDC that it was releasing an in-house Mapping application to supplant Google. This reportedly caught the search giant off guard and now the company is scrambling to put together a standalone Maps app for iOS as quickly as possible.

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