“Apple Maps quickly became the butt of jokes when it debuted in 2012. It overlooked many towns and businesses and misplaced famous landmarks. It marked New York’s Madison Square Garden arena as park space because of the word “Garden.” The service was a rare blunder for a company known for simple, easy-to-use products,” Anick Jesdanun reports for The Associated Press. “It’s a different story three years later.”

“Apple fixed errors as users submitted them. It quietly bought several mapping companies, mostly for their engineers and other talent,” Jesdanun reports. “This fall, it added transit directions for several major cities, narrowing a major gap with Google. Apple Maps is now used more widely than Google Maps on iPhones. ‘They really did a great job in a short amount of time,’ said Alex Mackenzie-Torres, a former Google Maps manager who’s now with competing transit app Moovit. ‘Apple has something that few companies have — simplicity in design mixed with high doses of pragmatism and practicality.'”

“Apple says its mapping service is now used more than three times as often as its next leading competitor on iPhones and iPads, with more than 5 billion map-related requests each week. Research firm comScore says Apple has a modest lead over Google on iPhones in the U.S., though comScore measures how many people use a service in a given month rather than how often,” Jesdanun reports. “Google still dominates among all U.S. smartphones, though, in part because Apple Maps isn’t available on Google’s Android system, which is more prevalent than iPhones. In October, Google Maps had more than twice as many smartphone users as Apple Maps.”

“Kristi Denton, an iPhone user in Austin, Texas, said that after getting bad directions with Apple Maps long ago, she has gone as far as to copy addresses and paste them into Google to avoid the default Apple service,” Jesdanun reports. “Lots of users, though, have returned. And many new iPhone users never experienced Maps at its worst.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: That’s a lot of stigma poor Apple Maps carried, and still carries around, that never would have occurred with the addition of a single little word: “beta.”