Killer app?

Much is being about the problems with the new maps issue on iOS 6. The best piece I’ve seen so far is this one on The Verge. The key angle to this story, the one that might resonant with customers, is this: “Apple’s decision to swap out Google Maps is a rare example of the company openly placing its own interests above those of its customers,” write Nilay Patel and Adi Robertson.

I’m not sure how rare that is, but anyway. I don’t expect to see anyone getting out of line at the Apple store just because the maps app has some flaws.

But the Mapocalypse does raise a question: If the new maps app is truly this bad, how come none of those glowing first-round reviews made any mention of this fact? Thousands of words were devoted to the thinness, the lightness, the wonderful way it feels when you hold it in your hand, but there was hardly a quibble about maps.

Mossberg did the best job of covering his ass, writing that maps was the “biggest drawback” and “in other ways a step backward” — but he also pointed out that the new maps app “has one big advantage” over its predecessor, meaning turn-by-turn navigation.

Scott Stein of CNET also quibbled a bit wasn’t too upset, saying, “Odds are, you’ll own a couple of maps apps and swap back and forth.”

Pogue called the new maps app one of the “chief attractions” of the new iOS.

MG Siegler of TechCrunch wrote, “Testing the maps these last few days, I’ve come away impressed.”

Jim Dalrymple of Loop Insight wrote, “I really should mention Maps, Apple’s new turn-by-turn direction app on the iPhone. I love it. I used in Cupertino and I used it at home — it worked equally well in both places.”

Ed Baig of USA Today touted the new turn-by-turn navigation, saying “Apple has generally done a very good job with its own turn-by-turn feature,” and made no mention of any problems with maps.

Gruber’s review ran several thousand words but made no mention of maps at all. (Though yesterday, after people started howling, Gruber conceded that, ahem, the new maps app is “a downgrade.”

This is weird, isn’t it? How could all of these top reviewers have early access to the device, test it thoroughly, and not notice anything wrong with the maps app?

I’m sure there’s a good explanation.