Images like the one are the latest buzz at Apple this week. Customers complained that the new map software on the latest iOS 6 was not performing up to standards. Satellite images (like the one pictured here) were looking strange and locations were showing up inaccurately.

CEO, Tim Cook, immediately issued an apology in regards to this issue, something very unusual of Apple to do. Google, who holds the Android smartphone market, saw this as an immediate opportunity to intervene. Google explained to Apple customers that they could use Google Maps through their web browser.

The intervention from Google comes after a long love-hate relationship between Google and Apple. Originally, Google Maps was installed on the first iPhone. Apple dropped the competitor recently in order to pursue their own breakthrough invention of maps software.

However, as it turns out, this investment fell a little short. It seems that while Apple was hoping for a breakthrough improvement in their maps software, they did not get what they bargained for. Apple worked with experts in map navigation to help with the Apple version of maps. One of Google’s chairmen stated that Apple would have been better of retaining the original Google Maps.

This issue reminds me a little of the class activity of the story of William Sowden Sims. In the story, Sims, a young naval artillery officer, tries to write letters to his superior officers, telling them that he knows how to improve firing accuracy in the United States Navy. However, all of the letters are rejected again and again because the navigators, the most important in the Navy, believed that they knew everything about firing accuracy. It seems that Apple could learn some things from the story of Sims. Apple decided to step away from Google Maps because they believed that they knew how to do things the best way. Ultimately, this carried them away from something very simple such as testing the product out enough before users got it.

In the meantime, Apple stated that customers could use alternative map sources  (Google was even mentioned, but only at the very end of the list). Regardless of this mishap, Apple CEO encouraged customers to continue to use Apple’s maps, stating: “the more our customers use our Maps the better it will get.”

This current issue brings back memories of the original launch of the first iPhone, when customers complained about the price being too high. Shortly after complaints, Apple adjusted prices of the iPhone to satisfy customer’s expectations of price. It seems that Apple will try and use this tactic once more here to solve the problem, this time the focus will only be on improving the maps software.

Do you think it was okay for Apple to launch maps software to the public when they did not fully test it out before? Do you think Apple’s apology was an effective method of coping with the criticism and problem?

Source: Wall Street Journal

Are replacement refs diminishing the entertainment quality of the game?

For my post I decided to discuss the replacement officials in the National Football League as it relates to the entertainment quality to the viewer. NFL football is notoriously popular with television viewers; however the recent NFL labor dispute with the regular officials, has caused some concern over the league’s appeal. Pro football is a multimillion dollar business which hinges on its popularity. But with viewers becoming upset over botched calls and sluggish games, is the entertainment quality of watching football really diminished by substitute referees?

Some would argue yes, as illustrated in the New York Times article I read on this topic titled “In N.F.L, the Show Goes On and On” (Borden, 2012). http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/sports/football/with-nfl-replacement-officials-on-field-pace-of-games-sputters.html?pagewanted=all&_moc.semityn.www This article points to the obvious slowing of the game (rate of play) which may draw some fans to change the channel. NFL fans have been used to a fast paced high scoring game, now it seems the rhythm and tempo have vanished. Most of the criticism for this is pointed at the replacement officials, who are not accustomed to working nationally televised games. They are accountable for keeping the game moving, enforcing penalties smoothly and quickly, and moving to and from mandatory network commercial breaks. They are a key piece to a smooth broadcast. The stops and starts also affect the finished product delivered to fans and the most exciting part of football, the scoring.

This reflects the point covered in class 9/17 on pg.1 of the slides, Deming’s economic chain reaction. To stay in business a company must capture a larger market, through improved productivity, better use of resources, and fewer mistakes and delays. The NFL has a setback in their system and the replacement officials provide a large source of variation to the process. This variation caused by the officials can result in product failures, unhappy customers, and higher costs. So in some ways the entertainment quality to me has been reduced. I mean I don’t mind watching three hour games, but I want to see some vertical throws and some fast paced action, not referee huddles and on field confusion about a ball spot.

Conversely every year, long, slow games are always prevalent. Football is a lucky game full of hops and bounces and the results can be unusual. According the article, ratings haven’t slipped and fans still tune in on Sunday. And I’m pretty sure they will continue to. Each week I’m sure the officials are working to improve. This incremental improvements approach (Kaizen) is necessary to get better on a continual basis, little by little to increase the overall process of officiating. However with on field system errors the finished product could suffer.  Do you think the entertainment quality for football viewers and fans is diminished or reduced as a result of replacement officials in the NFL?