World Bulletin / News Desk
An entire city is in the ocean, a farm has been labeled as an airport, highways end in the middle of nowhere and a hospital now covers the entire center of British city Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's home.
Welcome to the new world of Apple Maps that greeted iPhone and iPad users when they downloaded the highly anticipated update to the consumer giant's mobile software platform, iOS 6.
Apple Inc's home-grown Maps feature was introduced with much fanfare in June by Apple's software chief Scott Forstall and is a direct challenge to the same service offered by friend-turned-rival Google Inc.
But the app is already facing criticism from users globally for a number of geographical errors, missing information and because it lacks features that made Google Maps so popular, including public transit directions, comprehensive traffic data or street view pictures.
Apple Maps has replaced Google Maps, which is no longer available on iOS 6.
The criticism comes on the eve of the launch of Apple's iPhone 5, which hits stores around the globe on Friday. The iPhone 5 comes pre-loaded with the new iOS 6 software and Maps.
Users have created a Tumblr blog sarcastically dubbed "The Amazing iOS 6 Maps" where many have posted screen shots of the errors (ht tp://theamazingios6maps.tumblr.com/) . Pictures showed the Norwegian town of Leknes in the Norwegian sea, the entire city center of Stratford-upon-Avon is labeled as a hospital.
Some of the errors have even irked politicians. Irish Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said he was surprised to discover that Airfield -- a 35-acre estate with working farm and café in center of his constituency in Dundrum, Ireland -- has been labeled with the image of an aircraft.
He said this could be dangerous for pilots and suggested in a statement that Apple use the image of "a cow, a goat, a sheep, a flower" instead, and that an "aircraft is an entirely inappropriate flight of imagination."
Users in Asia were surprised to see two sets of the disputed islands known by Japan as the Senkaku and by China as the Diaoyu. Some joked that this was Apple's effort at providing a diplomatic solution to Japan and China, both of which claim the islands. Later searches using iOS 6 appeared to show the disputed islands had been removed altogether.
NOT AN EASY FIX
Closer to home, New York city residents are unhappy that Apple maps doesn't offer public transit directions, one of the most-used features on Google Maps in cities.
"My phone should be able to tell me which bus and train to take," said Kenan Ali, a Brooklyn, New York, resident who exclusively uses public transport in the city and has been an iPhone user since 2008. "I am hoping in the next update they will somehow add transit directions."
Apple's map service comes with three-dimensional images of cities called "Flyover" along with real-time traffic updates and also turn-by-turn navigation, the last a feature that Google has in Android devices but had not made available in Apple devices.
Apple licenses mapping data from vehicle navigation systems maker TomTom. TomTom said it stands behind the quality of its maps but didn't develop the app.
"During the process of turning mapping data into an app, every manufacturer does it their own way," said TomTom spokesperson Cem Cohen. "We are not part of that process. Apple uses exactly the same maps as our other customers."
Cohen said TomTom hasn't talked to Apple about the issues.
While in theory it will be possible for Apple to update Maps with a software fix, the problems appear to be "pretty profound and pretty fundamental," said Marcus Thielking, co-founder of Skobbler, maker of the popular GPS Navigation 2 app, built using the crowdsourced OpenStreetMap platform.
"The question is really how much expertise do they have in-house and what they sourced from third parties," Thielking said, adding that Apple requires people with a very specific skill set to fix it.
"It's not their core competence," he added.
Google, for its part, did not say whether it would do a Google Maps apps for iOS 6. Users now have to access Google Maps through the browser.
"Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system," the company said in a statement.
Apple shares closed down about 0.5 percent at $698.70 on Nasdaq, a day after reaching an all-time high of $703.99. The shares have gained over 20 percent in the past 3-1/2 months in the build-up to the launch of the iPhone 5.
After U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated that the central bank was poised to raise interest rates, European stock markets fall.
Italian company Enel will invest 18 billion euro for renewable energy sources in Africa.
Azerbaijani president said in a statement that Southern Gas Corridor project will supply neighboring and European countries for a 100 years
Oil prices rose above $60 due to Iran's call for oil production cut
Economic growth in the Euro-Zone is not at desired levels.
Director and Global Head of Islamic Finance at Standard & Poor's says that growing market for sukuk and new players mark 'significant interest' in Islamic finance.
The Ministry of Finance said that Denmark has written to China to "announce its intention to apply to be a founding member" of the AIIB.
Experts state that the crisis poses risks to the region, which is significant for oil production and exports in the world.
Federal Reserve removes word 'patient;' interest rate increase expected within months. Yellen says timing of rate rise 'not decided,' but will come anytime after April; holds current rates at 0 to 0.25 pct.
Many emerging-market currencies have fallen against the dollar in recent weeks
Anticipated Federal Reserve interest rate hikes making dollar strong against most emerging market currencies, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan says.
European Statistical Agency says slight decline fuelled by drop in production of durable consumer goods.
EU will use all its foreign policy instruments to establish strategic energy partnerships with producing and transit countries.
Dollar strength and waning investor confidence are driving the lira lower
Greece has already received two bailouts totalling 240 billion euros but fellow euro zone member Ireland said last week that it would have to negotiate a third programme.
The Ukraine crisis has tested the loyalties of Bulgaria, a Balkan country with historical ties to Moscow and heavily dependent on Russian energy supplies.