Ancient cartographers used to write “Here be dragons” on unexplored areas of a map. In April, the computer giant Apple found out the hard way that there are still some serpents out there for unwary mapmakers.
The launch of the iPhone 5 and its latest mobile operating system in September was marred by Apple’s decision to drop Google Maps for its own rather rushed in-house product.
Addresses were wrong, transport information and businesses were missing, and firms that had shut were resurrected. The disaster was not helped by bizarre details such as a flattened Eiffel Tower squashed across a 3D Paris like some surrealist joke.
Millions of Apple fans held off upgrading their phones. The debacle cost the jobs of Scott Forstall, head of software for iPad and iPhone, and Richard Williamson, who managed the maps project.
“We screwed up,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said last week.