I was standing on a corner in San Francisco looking for the closest bus stop to take to my lunch meeting. I knew which bus I needed, but not where the stop was located or when it was coming. So I went to launch NextBus.
NextBus is a terrific HTML5 app that uses the GPS information transmitted by transit vehicles to predict the next arrival. It also locates the nearest bus stops using device location info and gives a range of routes and stops in the area. I use it almost every day in San Francisco as it considerably lessens the pain of getting around the city.
The arrival of Google Maps for iOS 6 a few days earlier led to the upgrade of my iPhone. While there were a few changes that seemed annoying, particularly in the Mail app, I didn’t experience the wi-fi bug that has been reported and supposedly fixed in an update I haven’t downloaded. In fact, I hadn’t experienced any bugs until I was in real need of my NextBus page.
So I clicked on the icon and got the screen here. I’m standing on the corner knowing I have about two minutes to find out if the bus is coming or choose another way to get where I’m going. And instead of finding out about the bus, I’m finding out about a bug in iOS6. Now it doesn’t take long to do what they say, but I was in a hurry. I just walked in the right direction until I found the bus stop, but ended up a few minutes late to my destination.
Later some doubt crept in. Maybe this is a poorly designed app, it was early in the HTML 5 game. The whole thing could just be an excuse for programmers that missed something in the documentation, and then their oversight was blamed on Apple. Sitting in front of my computer, I searched the web for any information on a location bug, and, finding nothing, decided it must be a problem at NextBus. I did what they said to do and it worked fine.
And then a few more hours passed and I remembered how OpenTable had not worked the day before. I was sitting in a great restaurant in Napa and wondered if the restaurant took reservations through OpenTable. I pulled out my phone, launched the app and couldn’t get location to work. I closed it, re-launched, same thing. I turned off my phone, turned on my phone, launched one more time, it happened again. At the time, I chalked it up to a problem at OpenTable and didn’t think about it again until a few hours after my problem with NextBus.
I took the obvious, at this point, action – deleted the app and reinstalled. And, just like with NextBus, it worked just fine.
It’s obvious to me now that there is some bug with location in iOS6. It happened with the HTML5 app and it happened with the native app. It doesn’t happen with any of my other location-based apps, but there are a lot of apps out there that are not on my phone. It’s just another bug turning up on what appears to be a really messy software release.