When Apple Maps replaced Google as the iPhone’s default mapping service in 2012, it was nothing short of a disaster. It struggled to locate even the most basic addresses. It sent drivers down roads that didn’t exist. It didn’t support public transit, a huge drawback for urbanites. It was such a mess that Apple CEO Tim Cook offered a rare public apology, while an Apple manager who oversaw Maps was fired.
Four years later, Apple Maps is greatly improved — enjoyable to use, even! This week, a new profile of Cook and other Apple executives in Fast Company offers fresh insight into how the Maps fiasco changed the company’s approach to software.
As it turns out, the Maps debacle led Apple to offer public betas for new iPhone software, which it hadn’t done before. The theory: People who download pre-release software will find and report bugs that smaller teams inside Apple might miss.
Also of interest to Apple watchers: Cook is very intrigued by Apple’s potential to shake up the healthcare industries. We’ve already seen a bit of that with the Apple Watch, HealthKit, ResearchKit and so on, but it sounds like there’s much more in the pipeline that hasn’t been discussed publicly yet: