The map service on the beta version of Apple's new mobile operating system iOS6 has incensed Korean patriots by labeling the Dokdo islets with their Japanese name Takeshima. Tokyo maintains a dubious claim to the islands.
Apple says the blunder resulted from its inability to use Korean maps since obscure Korean regulations prohibit the country's map data from being taken abroad. It remains to be seen whether the official version of iOS6 will stick to the Japanese name.
Apple unveiled the own map service at its Worldwide Developers Conference last week. Until now, Apple had been using Google Maps on iPhones and other mobile devices, but the iOS6 platform uses Apple's own maps developed using data from Wikipedia's OpenStreetMap.
Apple turned to other map makers to supplement the information, and one of them was a Japanese company called Increment P Corporation, which was responsible for the Takeshima reference.
The reference may remain unchanged in the official version of iOS6, since Apple insists on sticking to the current format. Even if it is corrected, it may only be in Korea but not abroad. Google Earth succumbed to calls by Korean users and changed the name of the islets to Dokdo in the Korean version of the map service but the U.S. and Japanese versions refer to the islets as "Liancourt Rocks."
The iPhone 5 and iOS6 mobile platform are set to be officially released in October of this year. "Unless the dispute over the map service is resolved, mobile providers will have a hard time marketing the iPhone 5," said one industry insider here. "This could end up being a boon for Samsung Electronics and allow it to maintain its solid lead in the domestic smartphone market."