Apple is turning to its retail store staff to help improve its controversial iOS 6 Maps application, MacRumors reported Wednesday. Teams of Apple Retail employees will be spending up to 40 hours per week reporting errors and corrections found on Apple’s Maps.
While exact details of the program remain unknown, both MacRumors and ifoAppleStore have received tips that Apple Retail store employees are being asked to voluntarily participate in an effort to improve the quality of the Maps application, a service that Apple CEO Tim Cook said fell short of the high standards that Apple customers have come to expect from the company.
It is also unclear from sources if employees will be physically auditing the mapping accuracy of the geographical area around each store, or if they will be tasked with comparing Apple Maps to other services from Google, Microsoft, or MapQuest, and noting discrepancies.
To improve the speed and efficiency of reporting corrections, sources claim that Apple employees will use a dedicated internal system to report corrections. Currently, the only way for those outside of Apple to report errors and corrections is via a tedious interface within the Maps app.
Apple has taken significant steps to address user concerns over its Maps application since the launch of iOS 6. Mr. Cook penned an open letter to customers apologizing for the poor quality of the service, and the company has made an effort to feature third party mapping alternatives on its iOS App Store. The company has also reportedly begun to hire former Google Maps employees, in an effort to bolster mapping experience among its ranks.
With over 43,000 retail employees spread across 391 stores in 14 countries, a concerted effort by Apple Retail staff may help improve Maps quality in certain areas, but considering the vast swaths of the world that are far from Apple Retail’s reach, it may be a while before the accuracy of Apple’s Maps becomes noticeably better.