Analyst: Google Maps for iPhone a mixed blessing for Apple

“The first analyst we’ve seen to comment on Google’s new Maps app for the iPhone is Needham’s Charlie Wolf,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

“A dependable, well-designed iPhone map app benefits both companies, but Google probably more,” P.E.D. reports. “Google is in the advertising business, and the app should soon begin to generate location-based ad revenue from millions of iPhone users.”

P.E.D. reports, “If users flock to Google’s app it will slow Apple’s efforts to fix its own. ‘That’s because,’ Wolf explains, ‘users’ input is critical in improving the quality of the application, and Apple will now receive less feedback on its own Maps app.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple wanted Google Maps to offer iPhone users Street View, turn-by-turn voice-aided navigation, and vector-based, more data efficient, graphics.

Google told Apple, “No” (or perhaps they demanded to be paid), withholding such feature in order to try to peddle their iPhone wannabes.

So, Apple made their own Maps – which contains features not found in Google Maps (Flyover, for example) – and, poof!, Google Maps now offers iPhone users Street View, turn-by-turn voice-aided navigation, and vector-based, more data efficient, graphics.

For free.

Plus, Google lost the most important thing: iOS’ built-in Maps API. Developers who use Maps in their iOS apps use Apple Maps, not Google Maps. That means millions upon millions of ad impressions blown by Google that they’ll never get back, no matter how many ads they run, and they got nothing in return for it. In fact, they lost a bullet point off their Android phone sales pitch (free turn-by-turn nav.). With two major apps and a plethora of other excellent apps, Apple’s iPhone offers users the best and the most map features. You can’t get Apple’s Flyover on an Android iPhone wannabe device.

Google got played. Apple won the maps war. iOS users won, too, obviously. Google is now stuck trying to battle Apple to make the best iOS Maps app, on their own dime, and looking on enviously from the outside in – with just an app, not even a built-in app (the percentage of iPhone users who never even download a single app would boggle your mind: Half of all users), and no iOS built-in API – at significantly lost revenue because of their own pigheadedness.

Related articles:
Apple wins again: Much improved Google Maps iPhone app vindicates Cupertino’s strategy – December 13, 2012
Google Maps hits Apple App Store, Google admits iOS Maps app is better than Google Maps for Android – December 13, 2012

38 Comments

  1. My iPhone 5 Apple Maps are great. The best mapping I have ever had in many generations of iPhone. Total accuracy, great experience. SIRI integration is excellent. I have zero interest in investigating Google Maps.

  2. I still think it was a mistake for Cook to issue a public apology for the Maps app. I think he should’ve just said that they will improve it quickly and then do that.
    I think people who don’t investigate will be convinced Apple’s maps is awful when it’s not. I’ve used many of the GPS apps on the app store and they all have some issue or another.

    1. Roughly half of all iPhone users never download a single app.

      From the link you provided: “If a user doesn’t have the Google Maps app installed, the link falls back to Apple’s mapping API.”

  3. I do not know why people are impressed. The Google Maps is just a web link and it runs on Apple’s Safari app. Is someone seeing a real full blown app? Anyone can make a iPhone screen link to a web site. I have several on my iPhone now.

    Yes, it is a good web page and service. It is not an iPhone app!

    1. Didn’t I answer this yesterday already?

      The new Google Maps app is NOT running in Safari. If that’s what you have, you went to maps.google.com and did an “Add to homescreen” just like you say you did for other web pages.

      Google Maps was not the first search result in the app store, but it IS there, unless you’re in some country Apple or Google decided not to make it available in.

      If this were a “fake” app MDN would’ve been all over it already. Diss Google if you want, but stop posting false info and then get all huffy about it..

  4. I like apple maps but it’s nice to have google maps too. In my area apple maps works pretty well if you know the exact addresses for turn by turn – but it sucks for search, like if I type in, “liquor” or “pizza” apple maps fails hugely – it can’t find anything. Sometimes apple maps gets confused and shows me stuff in canada ??
    Anyway, google maps is much more reliable for searching. So when I’m driving around looking for “art supplies” I’m using google maps.

    1. LIAR!

      I just did all those searches you said you did. Worked for me without a hitch!

      Why do people like you lie like this so much.

      Eventually people will find out that Apple maps are way better despite people like you and the press.

  5. Thanks for the article MDN. As soon as I saw google maps was back I downloaded it. Now my iPhone maps works again. Ditto to mac hack. The usefulness to find anything in Apple maps is terrible.

    1. ..To post as Mac hack and then to post as some other name to backup the previous post. In your case not only is it obvious since both comments follow each other so closely, but also your second name Mark II……..so close to Mac Hack.

      I say lying troll!

  6. No MDN. You are wrong. Your usual objective view is very distorted. Apple was pissed off at Google so they decided to remove Google maps. It had nothing to do with some secret plot to force Google to improve their maps. Apple should have removed Google maps if they felt it was appropriate in their ongoing thermonuclear war. Apple tried to replace same with their own maps. Good idea but their maps worth badly flawed. They should have never released them. But to try to save face by saying that Apple planned this is ludicrous. Shame on you MDN. Apple screws up just like everyone else. You already change the headlines of stories you reprint to always try to make Apple look good somehow. That’s more than enough.

    1. Have to agree with MDN. Apple found out that Google was playing hardball with Maps. As long as Apple did not have any Map App Google had the advantage and they could leave Apple without a major Map application at will. Apple created a App of their own, deployed it, and is now forcing Google to play nice. You can and is forceing a company, such as Google, to improve or walk away. Google decided to play ball on Apple’s terms or lose a major money in process. No longer is Google telling Apple what it will receive now or a threat to hardware sales. Basically, Apple lauched Google out of their house and bounced to the street. Google must knock on the Apple’s door every time they need to make changes. Sorry, not winning on Google’s side.

    2. Near 100% of stories make Apple look bad. When MDN reports them they merely FIX the headline to to what it actually should be if the media was anything near accurate. They also give the interpretation of the SPIN the media puts over for stock manipulation. Usually the interpretation is same as the one that any one with COMMON sense can work out for themselves.

      And, YES, the interpretation on this saga MDN is spot on! Of course GURGLE got played. Why would Goggle refuse to give turn by turn all these years and then also insist on license FEES???? Then all of a sudden within a space of 2 months give an app that does better than what Apple was asking for?

      1. Geez Paul, you’re the perfect example of why MDN changes the headlines. 100% Paul? Are you nuts? So the media puts a spin on Apple and no one else Paul? I didn’t realize you were such a fanboy Paul. It’s difficult to see you behind those rose-colored glasses

  7. I use Apple maps all the time. So far it has never failed me, however some people report problems and I believe them, so I downloaded the Google maps app so I would have that as a back up. But to use some Google features, they want my email and I’m too leery of them. Am I just being paranoid?

  8. Just comparing the apps side by side now. iOS App has more vibrant colours but is more pixelated the Google’s offering. The refresh rates are very quick using Google maps and very slow using iOS on my iPhone 4. iOS offers hybrid mode which I can’t find in Google maps. I don’t have fly over as it doesn’t work on an iPhone 4. They both seem accurate in my area. I hate to say it but Google maps is slightly better for everyday use (on an iPhone 4) due to its quick refresh rates, hopefully Apple will improve things over time. I’m sure the iOS version is much better in an iPhone 5.

    1. Google Maps also provides *details*. At certain zoom levels, even with dozens of roads in view, Apple maps doesn’t even show the names of all the major ones. In a few cases the name is just outside the viewable area, but one reason to have vector maps is so the names can appear anywhere on the road, preferably centered in your current viewing area.

      I can’t even report this to Apple properly–in the issue reporter, a preview of the map to be sent to them actually does show the major street labels.

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