Apple Changes Crimea Map to Meet Russian Demands →

November 28, 2019 · 14:05


Apple has complied with Russian demands to show the annexed Crimean peninsula as part of Russian territory on its apps.

Russian forces annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, drawing international condemnation.

The region, which has a Russian-speaking majority, is now shown as Russian territory on Apple Maps and its Weather app, when viewed from Russia.

But the apps do not show it as part of any country when viewed elsewhere.

It appears to be a limit based on what App Store a user has chosen (Russian in this case) and this is yet another appalling case of Apple bending over backwards to please an authoritarian regime.

Google, which also produces a popular Maps app, also shows Crimea as belonging to Russia when viewed from the country. The changes happened in March.

Apple is, however, not alone.

DuckDuckGo Powered by Apple Maps →

January 19, 2019 · 12:37


We’re excited to announce that map and address-related searches on DuckDuckGo for mobile and desktop are now powered by Apple’s MapKit JS framework, giving you a valuable combination of mapping and privacy. As one of the first global companies using Apple MapKit JS, we can now offer users improved address searches, additional visual features, enhanced satellite imagery, and continually updated maps already in use on billions of Apple devices worldwide.

With this updated integration, Apple Maps are now available both embedded within our private search results for relevant queries, as well as available from the “Maps” tab on any search result page.

I wonder why they chose Apple Maps instead of one of the many alternatives to Google Maps. Are the other options not as focused on privacy? Did Apple simply make them a good deal? Either way, this is most welcome. I have been using DDG as my search engine for a few years now and I rarely have to switch to Google to find something DDG missed.

Apple Is Rebuilding Maps From the Ground Up →

June 29, 2018 · 23:51

Matthew Panzarino, writing for TechCrunch:

Maps needs fixing.

Apple, it turns out, is aware of this, so it’s re-building the maps part of Maps.

It’s doing this by using first-party data gathered by iPhones with a privacy-first methodology and its own fleet of cars packed with sensors and cameras. The new product will launch in San Francisco and the Bay Area with the next iOS 12 beta and will cover Northern California by fall.

Apple Maps really needs vastly superior search algorithms and many more POIs. The problems with search in Europe are comical. Search for “Kaczyńskiego” in Poland (e.g. when in Warsaw) and Maps will suggest a street in a far-away city, despite there being two by that name in Warsaw. Or if a street name consists of two words, e.g. a name and surname, you often have to type in both, otherwise it will fail.

I’ve given up on Apple Maps in Europe and it will take a lot of work on Apple’s part to get me to come back.

Siri Isn’t Yet Using the Context Available to Her →

September 1, 2016 · 14:59

Dr. Drang:

So as I was hunting, Siri kept patiently telling me how to get to the airport. When I didn’t see a gas station after a few blocks worth of looking, I gave up and asked her for directions to the closest one.

“Starting route,” she replied. “Head north on Isenberg Street.”

This is why I couldn’t bring myself to read Steven Levy’s new article on how Apple is making great advances in machine learning. The iBrain is already inside my phone? No, not yet.

You see, when Siri told me to head north on Isenberg, I was traveling south on Isenberg. In that circumstance, “head north” is a stupid instruction to give.

Siri knew perfectly well I was going south on Isenberg. Not half a minute earlier, she’d been telling me how to turn off Isenberg to get to the interstate. And she’d been tracking my location continuously since I left the hotel. The context was there, but it wasn’t used.

Siri is still missing a new major motorway from its database in Poland. I reported it months ago. So somehow the above does not surprise me one bit.