iOS 6 Won't Have Turn-By-Turn Navigation In Australia At Launch [Updated]

We've covered the worrying state of Apple Maps before, but I can't remember the last time I got so many emails about one issue. There has been a deluge of correspondence flood my inbox in the last 24 hours, and it's all over one problem: turn-by-turn navigation in iOS 6. Australia isn't getting it. Update: Apple's Scott Forstall explains why.

If you wander over to Apple's website, they've done something pretty nifty by breaking down, country-by-country, who will get access to the various iOS 6 features.

24 features are listed on the page, and in rather a nice touch, Australia gets access to 19 of them. Some of those features are Twitter and Facebook integration and some improvements to Siri that the US have had for months now. The glaring omission though, is turn-by-turn navigation.

There are a total of 56 other countries getting turn-by-turn navigation support before Australia. That's right. 56.

Here they are:

• UK • USA • Vietnam • Albania • Argentina • Austria • Belarus • Belgium • Botswana • Bulgaria • Canada • Chile • Croatia • Czech Republic • Denmark • Estonia • Finland • France • Germany • Greece • Hong Kong • Hungary • Indonesia • Ireland • Israel • Italy • Japan • Latvia • Liechtenstein • Lithuania • Luxembourg • Macedonia • Malta

• Mexico • Moldova • Montenegro • Namibia • Netherlands • New Zealand • Norway • Philippines • Poland • Portugal • Romania • Russia • San Marino • Singapore • Slovakia • Slovenia • South Korea • Spain • Sweden • Switzerland • Turkey • Ukraine • Uruguay

Namibia? Latvia? Albania?! Most of these countries aren't even launch markets (which Australia is), so why are they getting turn-by-turn before us? Seriously, what is so hard with enabling this feature in Australia?

I can only assume, looking at that list, that it's a problem with the sheer scope and size of Australia. There's a lot of it to map, and turn-by-turn isn't an easy thing to do. That theory loses a bit of water when you see that Russia is on there, but I digress.

We were happy when Australia became an Apple launch market, but this glaring feature omission represents a piece in a troubling puzzle. Is Apple releasing a product to Australia just because they know we'll buy it no matter what? I shudder to think that this conversation ever took place:

'Give it to the Australians?' 'Naaaah, not just yet.' 'But they're a launch market?' 'Yeah but they'll buy it whether it has turn-by-turn or not, besides, how can you use turn by turn navigation when you ride a wombat to work?!'

Android users know how annoying it is to have a mapping product with no turn-by-turn navigation. Sure, it's enabled now, but it took Google months to release turn-by-turn to Australians following the release of the product in other markets.

Maps are clearly a tougher product that we give it credit for. It's got to be accurate 100 per cent of the time or you don't just annoy someone, you risk endangering them. If Apple is working on turn-by-turn for Australia to make it safer, then fine, but at least tell us. Apple hasn't yet returned our calls on this to give us a reason for it.

Update #1: A Whirlpool Forum user tried the old trick of emailing Scott Forstall, Apple's head of iOS, to ask where the hell the turn-by-turn mapping is. Here's the post by user, roundaboutmusic:

Re: Turn by turn. I figured I'd email Scott Forstall to ask:

Hi Scott,

Just saw that turn by turn maps won't be available in Australia (but will be in New Zealand?).

Just wondering if this is something that will be switched on for us Aussies in the near future?

Cheers,

I was pleasantly surprised when he got back to me. His reply:

Australia is definitely important to us. We first need to make sure our data is exceptional and qualified before turning on turn-by-turn.

—S.

Here's the email:

Thanks to Rupert for this.

Update #2: What exactly did Forstall mean when he talked about data? Reddit user and former Sensis map builder, Happy-Time Harry, explains the problem:

As far as I know (as a former map building employee of Sensis) the only companies doing turn by turn data collection in Australia are Sensis and Navteq, of which Sensis has quite a few years head start and a much more detailed set of metadata for the road network. Sensis has about 10 GPS and image collection vehicles that are driven a few million kms every year, from which they build the road maps with metadata that are used in most Australian GPS devices including Garmin, TomTom, Navman etc. Google also have a deal with Sensis and use sensis data in the Australian google maps. I assume Apple just hasn't got around to doing a deal with Sensis or Navteq yet because its a) a massive amount of data given the size of Australia, and b) a small market, so something they'll get around to eventually.

Thanks, Brad.

We'll update you if we hear more about it before next Friday, but don't be surprised if you tear the packaging off the iPhone 5 to find that it won't tell you where to go.


Comments

    You'd probably find out, if you could actually get a real answer at least, that the turn by turn is probably not available in aus due to some licensing requirements that haven't been met yet.

    Likely, no proof of course

    I'll just carry on using the hugely expensive Tom Tom app and their HD Traffic. Which is a shame, because Tom Tom are partnering with Apple. Which makes it even more weird as to why it's not there.

    It's very sad, but I consider myself "lucky" that we got the other bits and bobs. Australia is pretty much on every other list of roll out countries, except the restaurant booking, I think.

    I have a 4 (not a 4S), is Siri as complete now in Aus compared to the US? I didn't think it was.

      Pads, try this link, has load of info on what will and will not work immediately on iOS 6 next week:
      http://www.apple.com/ios/feature-availability/

    The strangest thing to me is that we get Directions, but not Turn-By-Turn?
    http://www.apple.com/ios/feature-availability/#maps-directions

      Possibly the issue may be with localisation... Having Siri properly pronouncing names etc. If that's the case I expect the delay would not be too bad.

        A couple days ago, I asked siri to add an appointment for me at 461 Henley Marine Drive in Drummoyne. Siri spelt that perfectly. I thought it was exceptional. this is not the problem.

          With Carlton Draught on tap? You should of booked elsewhere!

            haha - yeah i'll ask for the wine list

    Honestly without the full features of google maps I don't give a shit about apples offering.

    I'm just hoping google maps can make in into the app store.

      Google Maps on the iPhone never had spoken turn by turn either though.

        But thats at least semi-palatable when you have a strong mapping system. Apple's from what I've seen so far on my iPad is sub-optimal.

    Missing out on turn-by-turn at launch is a bit of a bummer. It's like the consolation prize for losing Google Maps. Here's hoping it doesn't take too long.

    And this is why in markets outside of the US, Apple is losing ground to the others. The suggestion that' "problem with the sheer scope and size of Australia" is null as if that was the case why is their a number of turn-by-turn products that you can even buy for the iphone.

      That and the fact that Australia is the same size as the US.

        That wouldnt even matter, if I have 1 road in a country that's the same size as another with 10 times as many. I haven't chrcke the figures but I'm willing to bet that the U.S has far more km (sorry miles :p) of road to collect data for :)

        US is actually a bit larger by a couple of million square kilometers...

        That said, the size or area of a country in this case isn't hugely important. What matters is the size of its road network. When it comes to land mass outside of metro areas, the vast majority of Australia in uninhabited, and has few roads to be mapped.

    Isn't it TomTom info? They already have Aussie functionality.

    Anyway, in the meantime, get the Sensis app. It's free, and has turn-by-turn.

    TomTom and Google both get their map data from Sensis.
    And as we know, Apple are using TomTom for Map data for iOS 6
    I'm gathering the Australian arrangement is a unique one to other countries, hence why we will get Turn by Turn later.

    that looks like a couple more million quids going to the ACCCs purse...

      In what way? Apple clearly states the feature is unavailable on their website.

      Not exactly. Yeah it's BS that Australia isn't included in this, but they haven't exactly lied about not including it here. In fact, check where it's mentioned on the US site: http://www.apple.com/ios/whats-new/#maps
      Compare that to AU: http://www.apple.com/au/ios/whats-new/#maps
      The turn-by-turn navigation part of the US site is missing on the AU site, everywhere Maps is mentioned. Even check NZ's site: http://www.apple.com/nz/ios/whats-new/#maps - it's there too. It's crap I know, but then again I do have Sensis' Whereis app which is free anyway, so no big loss.

    ha ha ha apple fail.

    I'm sure this won't stop aussies buying it, because fanboi blind love is blind.

      Buying what? IOS 6 is free upgrade anyhow. If you mean iPhone 5 I can say as 4S user I won't be buying it. Why? I don't need or want 4G speed and 5 adds now new features except native panorama in camera but can already do that with existing apps - yawn

        Panorama is also supported on the iPhone 4S with iOS6.

          Thanks. So 5 has no new features over 4S. Really just some improved specs for bit more speed and tad thinner and tad increase in display size

      Buying what? IOS 6 is free upgrade anyhow. If you mean iPhone 5 I can say as 4S user I won't be buying it. Why? I don't need or want 4G speed and 5 adds no new features except native panorama in camera but can already do that with existing apps - yawn

    Speculating here.... Could it be a legal thing. Supposedly you can't use an iPhone for navigation purposes while driving.... Unless its in a a holder.

      Nokia Maps. Been doing it for years.

    Bit like the BS that was Siri with the iPhone 4S launch, what's that? you want siri to give you directions, sorry we can't do that un less you live in the United States of Marketing. I fell for the hype but sold my 4S 4 months later and have a galaxy note with free Navigon GPS software as well as google maps. Won't be looking back. Thanks for the ride Apple but I like to upgrade my mobile phones

    New market ... wombat satnav.

    New Zealand??!??! Come on!!!

    iOs5 with Google Map doesnt have turn-by-turn so whats the big issue?

    I think it was pretty obvious from the way that the Apple US website displayed turn-by-turn on their Apple Maps ad, but the Apple AU website didn't.

    google navigation? lol

    So I get to swap google maps for an inferior and incomplete apple maps?

      Apples solution may or may not be inferior, but it's not like Google Maps on iOS had any spoken turn by turn navigation.

    This is a classic Gizmodo 'Waaaaaambulance' post. I don't suppose you guys ever thought about emailing Scott Forstall or Apple before writing a post full of speculation based on a single web page?

    Doubt it...

    As for Apple not launching with it, I do agree it's slack when the tools and data exist. I hate all this fragmentation that then necessitates a web page like they've had to put up. You'd think with more money than god and a massive workforce they'd be able to wrap up something relatively small like this (based on the updates above it's a licensing deal at heart, nothing else).

    I prefer just looking at the overview map before i set out and actually remember where to go so I can get there next time without relying on turn-by-turn instructions anyway so no biggy

    It's working on the beta version
    http://i50.tinypic.com/dbtq3k.jpg

    "the only companies doing turn by turn data collection in Australia are Sensis and Navteq"

    And Google maps. for free.

    Okay some extra details
    1) Apple will probably not use NAVTEQ data since it is owned by Nokia.
    2) Even though SENSIS have a head start in terms of years, NAVTEQ are the largest mapping company in the world and in the field I work in I see that they have more detailed rural Australian maps than SENSIS. SENSIS are the king at street numbers in UBD mapped cities however.

    Wonder if Apple will get fined another $2mill for advertising a feature not available for Australia?

    Giz should just disable comments on all apple related articles, nothing productive is ever published below the black bar.

      And of course, your comment is productive.

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