It’s official: Apple Maps is so bad it could kill you.
According to Australian police, don’t use the application if you are driving around in the rural Southeastern Australian desert. Users can find themselves in a “life-threatening situation.”
The infamously glitchy application, recently included in Apple’s iOS 6 operating system update, has come under fire for leading many astray. But in Australia, the bad directions have landed several drivers in hot situations.
According to authorities, six Apple Maps users have been stranded in the Australian desert over the past month.
“Some of the motorists located by police have been stranded for up to 24 hours without food or water and have walked long distances through dangerous terrain to get phone reception,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The problem is where Apple Maps places the tiny town of Mildura. The six Mildura-bound drivers ended up in the dusty, isolated heart of Murray Sunset National Park. This remote location is about 45 miles away from Mildura.
The Sydney Morning Herald describes the location where Apple Maps places Mildura as “the end of a dirt road in the Australian bush, in tire-choking desert sand far from food and water.”
It sounds like a terrible place to unexpectedly turn up. Even worse for iPhone 5 junkies, the park has basically no mobile phone reception.
“Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the park and temperatures can reach as high as 46 degrees Celsius (114 F), making this a potentially life-threatening issue,” said police, in a statement.
“If it was a 45-degree [Celsius] day, someone could actually die,” said the Local Area Commander Inspector, Simon Clemence, to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Apple has been dealing with a deluge of criticism ever since the operating system update in the fall. Apple Maps has felt the brunt of criticism, with many users complaining of garbled graphics, misplaced landmarks, and just plain bad directions. The charge from Australian police is the first time the app has been deemed “life-threatening,” though.
“We screwed up and we are putting the weight of the company behind correcting it,” Apple CEOsaid in an interview earlier in the year.
After the official warning released yesterday, a police spokesperson said that Apple has “sort of half-fixed” the glitch on Tuesday morning. That doesn’t sound like a go-ahead to use the service again. At least, not yet.
We should pay more attention to science fiction movies and remember to never completely trust technology.