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Where was Maps at WWDC? Blame internal politics

Apple’s Maps app had a disastrous start on its release in September 2012, but since then it has gained ground over its competitor Google Maps, which powered the original Maps app on iOS.

However, it was this progress that made its absence from WWDC 2014 surprising.

Despite it getting a few minor updates, including the offering of vector maps in China, Apple could have missed an opportunity to boost the app further amongst what has generally believed to have been a successful launch event for iOS 8. But, according to a report on TechCrunch, there was a reason why Maps fell by the wayside last week. An unnamed source said: “there were multiple improvements that didn’t make it into iOS8.”

So why didn’t they surface? TechCrunch quotes further: “Mostly it was failure of project managers and engineering project managers, tasks were very badly planned, developers had to switch multiple times from project to project.”

Reliable and enhanced data

But what were these updates that weren’t finished? While Apple made no official announcement prior to WWDC, 9to5Mac claimed an exclusive back in March which described Apple’s Maps intentions. The report said that “While the interface for Maps was redesigned last year, Apple’s focus for 2014 is under-the-hood changes.”

This was supposed to include a much more reliable database with enhanced data. It would have included new points of interest, and they’d also be easier to find. It was also widely reported that public transit directions would be included too.

There were also rumors that Apple were looking to implement indoor mapping following its acquisition of WiFiSLAM.

A patent application from WiFiSLAM shows how it could track your location

A patent application from WiFiSLAM shows how it could track your location

Internal politics

TechCrunch’s source goes on to offer more insight into why there were few Maps updates: “I would say that planning, project management and internal politics issues were a much more significant contributor to the failure to complete projects than developers leaving the group.”

It’s then attributed to long-standing tensions stemming from its unsteady launch in 2012.

Despite its lack of showing at WWDC, further Maps improvements could arise over the coming months, and it’s unlikely Apple will keep internal struggles from progressing the app further.

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