Police warn Apple Maps bug could lead to 'life-threatening' situations
Undated Victoria Police handout image of the misleading iOS Maps application results for Mildura, Victoria, Australia on an Apple iPhone device.
Published Monday, December 10, 2012 9:54AM EST
Last Updated Monday, December 10, 2012 1:25PM EST
An Australian police force is warning drivers to avoid using the built-in Maps app on their Apple iPhones after a number of motorists who did so wound up in "potentially life-threatening" situations.
In a press release issued Monday, Victoria Police Acting Senior Sgt. Sharon Darcy said that local police in the city of Mildura had been called to assist a number of motorists stranded after following their iPhone's directions there.
Instead of finding their way to the city of approximately 30,000 people located 400 kilometres east of Adelaide, Darcy said the distressed drivers wound up 70 kilometres away in Murray-Sunset National Park.
"Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the Park and temperatures can reach as high as 46 degrees, making this a potentially life threatening issue," Darcy said.
"Some of the motorists located by police have been stranded for up to 24 hours without food or water and have walked long distances through dangerous terrain to get phone reception."
Darcy said that until the problem is rectified, travellers headed to Mildura or other destinations in the state of Victoria "should rely on other forms of mapping." Darcy also said police have reached out to Apple about the matter.
Apple had included the Google Maps application on its popular iPhone and other iOS devices until September, when it replaced the third-party application with its own in-house map app.
Unlike most of Apple's products, however, it was met with users' instant, widespread derision.
While websites popped up highlighting some of the new mapping application's most glaring errors, Apple initially stood behind the quality of its maps.
The Cupertino company eventually relented, posting an uncharacterstic apology on its website and creating a special section in its online App Store pointing users to third-party mapping alternatives.
"We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better," Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the time.
It was reported that longtime Apple executive Scott Forstall, who had been in charge of iPhone software development, was forced out of the company after he refused to sign a letter apologizing for the Maps app's flaws.