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The Macalope Weekly: From bad to worse

The Macalope | Oct. 1, 2012
You'd think that if Steve Jobs called you "a slime bucket" for talking out of school about his cancer that you might have the good taste to not presume to lecture on how Apple would be doing if Jobs were still alive.

You can argue that the iPad should be included, but the Macalope doesn't put it in quite the same pantheon of products. As pundits at the time of its release were so fond of pointing out, "It's just a big iPod touch."

In rolling out a new operating system for the iPhone 5, Apple replaced Google's map application-the mapping gold standard-with its own, vastly inferior, application...

Vastly inferior at some things-albeit very important things-and better at others.

...which has infuriated its customers. With maps now such a critical feature of smartphones, it seems to be an inexplicable mistake.

If you find it inexplicable then you're either not paying attention or being willfully obtuse. Don't know if you've noticed, but Apple and Google aren't exactly on the best of terms these days. Sitting down to a negotiation over mapping data right now would take someone with the patience of Job, something Jobs with an "s" certainly did not have.

And maybe that's all it is-a mistake, soon to be fixed. But it is just as likely to turn out to be the canary in the coal mine.

Once again the Pundit Ouija Board is pressed into action! Not surprisingly, the board has well-worn grooves leading to the "APPLE DOOMED!" answer.

How long do you think it takes to come up with a new maps app, from soup to nuts? The Macalope doesn't really know, but he wouldn't be surprised to hear that it takes more than a year, particularly if you're starting without any data. The point is, Jobs probably not only knew they were going to do this, he was probably a proponent of it.

Apple's current executive team is no doubt trying to maintain the same demanding, innovative culture, but it's just not the same without the man himself looking over everybody's shoulder.

Uh, yeah, but the real problem with the app as it stands isn't so much the part that Apple built as it is the data. Jobs may have been a very intimidating presence standing over your shoulder and slowly strangling a kitten, or whatever pundits like to fantasize about, but he could not magically make map data appear from thin air.

It's interesting that Nocera doesn't get at the one thing Jobs might have done better, which is selling it. But even Jobs couldn't fool all of the people all of the time. (See: Apple's original "sweet solution" for iOS development.) Still, as Jean-Louis Gassée notes, Apple should have done a better job on communicating that there would be problems.


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