Why do Apple like releasing Beta software? (Maps, Siri, MobileMe, Ping) Is this a trend?

"When it's right?"...

Not a troll post. Trying to think seriously here.

Apple are generally lauded for releasing features when they've "got it right". e.g. only doing Facetime when they "got it right"... Not doing NFC yet cos it "isn't right" and is still a solution in search of a problem.

But that isn't always so. And given the outcry about its lack of content, I think the initial release of Maps joins the list of "greatest misses". Now I don't dispute Maps will be great at some point. Flyovers are cool and, tbh, doing turn by turn and routing isn't rocket science. However its clear that in the state its been released there simply isn't enough content (amusing I tried to search for my Church, Christchurch Mayfair (London) whilst standing in the building. It gave me the Mayfair Carpark in Christchurch, New Zealand).

And I don't think that's the only one. Siri - again a feature which was explicitly released while in Beta. If Apple only releases things when they are perfect, why release a Beta? Also MobileMe and Ping. If I think about Apple's "greatest misses" the one thing that occurs to me is that (with the exception of the Cube) they are generally software/services related.

Again this seems strange given I thought within Apple the hot division to be in was the Software area... Aren't these supposed to be the best and the brightest?

... or when its convenient?

I would hazard a guess that some of this is overhasty releasing is due to commercial reasons - the need to have Siri to differentiate the iPhone 4S in the absence of any big hardware change; this year the need to break away from Google as fast as possible. Again this doesn't sound like the perfectionist insanely-focused-on-user-experience Apple of myth.

I also get the feeling that Apple simply isn't as good at software/services as they are as hardware, and as Google is. This is probably a more disputable point - iCloud is working good obviously, and Facetime seems fine (albeit having been fairly low usage during ramp-up, due to the wi-fi only restriction).

Anyway interested in peoples thoughts on the questions this raises, e.g.

- Is the idea Apple only releases products "when they're ready" a myth?

- Is Apple worse at software/services, or is this cherry-picking bad apples?

- Do Apple rush products out for commerical reasons, at the expense of user experience?

Again, not a troll post. I do not claim to have the answers. Just something that's bugging me this morning.

J

Edit: I'd just like to make it clear (in response to some posters downthread), that when I say "Beta" I don't literally mean that Maps, MobileMe and Ping were beta products (as I think I say in the OP, Siri was the only product to be explicitly "in beta". By "Beta" I mean "not finished to Apple's legendarily exacting degree of finished" rather than "not a release version, full bug-fixed etc".