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Is Austin’s Apple Maps Experience an Epic Fail?

Computing giant Apple has released the newest iteration of its mind-bogglingly popular iPhone. But Apple continues to grab headlines for a less-PR friendly reason: reaction to its new maps program, which replaces Google Maps on the iPhone 5 and in Apple’s latest operating system update.

A complete failure.” “Epic fail.” “Things can only get better.”

Criticism is pouring in on several fronts. While Apple’s maps are lauded for their graphic beauty, including a breathtaking 3D “Flyover” feature, the app is being criticized for receiving a rollout before being fully cooked. Its satellite graphics appear bubbly and distorted in several instances. Directions and details have been ubiquitously downgraded in some areas. And a big dealbreaker for iPhone users in many major cities is Maps’ lack of built-in public transit schedules and directions, which Google Maps has.

But so far, Austin seems to have been spared the worst of the brunt.

Austin’s Apple Maps experience seems to be relatively smooth compared to those in other cities. For starters, it’s rendered in 3D, while many other cities aren’t. Chris Carter, an Austin-based Apple independent developer, says "the 3D technology that they're using actually generates the 3D models from multiple angles of satellite images."

"There are some points of interest, like on the UT campus, that don't show up or are not labeled, and I noticed that few smaller businesses didn't pop up. But in general it appears to be accurate as far as getting around town," Carter says.

For users who find something goofy in the maps, there's an "options" tab at the bottom of the screen to report problems. Reports are that Apple has engineers in lockdown, furiously fixing bugs.

The company can afford to ply those engineers with all the Mountain Dew and pizza they can handle –  or champagne and caviar for that matter.  At the close of trading on Friday, the company was valued at more than $650 billion.

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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