Apple Maps have the last laugh

Madeleine Swain
12 November, 2013
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Recent received wisdom about Apple misfires and missteps has had Maps firmly at the top of the list – with naysayers happy to decry the app and point derisively at its less than stellar moments. Like the time iPhone directions were caught sending drivers into an airport and across an Alaskan runway. Or perhaps it was just Taiwan getting upset about being labelled as a province of China.

There is even a Tumblr devoted solely to Apple Map mishaps, which, if they’re all genuine, we must admit are pretty diverting. The shot of the British Houses of Parliament with the clock on Big Ben’s tower showing different times is particularly curious, while the image that directs drivers across the sea from Ilfracombe to a small island off the coast of north Devon is also delightful.

One of the most epic and famous failures was this picture of Sydney’s Aztec Bridge, a picture that had Sydneysiders heading for doorways and bunkers, in the not unreasonable belief that the city was in the middle of an earthquake of epic proportions.

But all those finger-pointers and guffawing galahs can start laughing on the other side of their faces, because the latest reports have Apple Maps going gangbusters and stealing users from Google Maps right, left and centre (and just off the side, round the corner and over a cliff).

Analysts have been crunching some numbers and noted that, in just one year, on its iOS platforms Apple Maps took four out of every five users of great rival Google Maps. That’s 80 percent of traffic migrating from the hitherto untouchable maps option to the Cupertino California company’s native app.

The data came from comScore and was reported in The Guardian by Charles Arthur.

Apple has been working hard to fix some of its most notorious failures... and it's paying off.


The Guardian too noted some of the many errors that plagued Apple Maps when it launched in September 2012, but concluded that since then iPhone and iPad users have taken to the app with relish. Google, it must be said, to an extent signed its own death warrant on the platform when it refused to allow Apple access to its voice driven map navigation – leading to it being struck off iOS and causing it to lose 23 million mobile users in the US alone, in favour of their device’s default application.

In September this year, 35 million iPhone owners used the native app, compared to 58.7 million Google users across both iOS and Android, and only about six million of those accessed Google Maps via their iPhones.

AppleInsider notes that this all bodes well for Apple’s future plans travel plans. “Apple’s Maps are also a strategic component of the company’s plans for iOS in the Car, slated to begin rolling out on new cars in 2014. Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook called the auto initiative a ‘key focus’ for the company,” concludes the website.

By Madeleine Swain


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