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One of my coworkers stood in line to get a new iPhone 5, so thanks to his, er, perseverance, I got to play around with it and we spent some time with maps, including using it while we drove to lunch. My conclusion was that it worked fine for him, in our town. Nothing special, but fine. On the other hand, we looked at some of the examples that had been noted as failures by other people, and sure enough, there were some major errors. If I was traveling in an unfamiliar city, it would make me uneasy if I had to depend on an iPhone 5. I would be fine with driving around an area I generally know while looking for an unfamiliar location. Fortunately, there is a workaround already available - they make these paper things that are also called "maps" that will work in a pinch!
This is from InfoWorld's Galen Gruman...
"[R]eports are coming in worldwide about errors in Maps, some as severe as entire cities missing or placed in the ocean."
Given that entire cities are missing or given the Atlantis treatment, I'd say there's quite a problem, at least for the moment. One would assume Apple will fix the glitches, but who knows when.
If you really want the new iPhone and aren't dependent on maps for your everyday nagivational needs, I'd say go for it anyway.