Apple Maps, once a laughingstock, now dominates iPhones

“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.”

24 Comments

  1. Apple Maps works flawlessly for me. And my two kids who use it extensively driving & traveling. And they travel a lot and it has never failed them. Even in Iceland recently.

    Apple needs to market it better – like most of their software.

    1. Google transit instructions, although they came first, still suck big time. Often, it will send you all over the place on an overnight trip to go from one village to a neighboring one.

    2. Apple Maps only works with the simplest of needs.

      For example, you cannot plot a multi-destination trip or add waypoints on the way.

      Also, the interface sucks thanks to Apple’s stupid flat meme. Overlays are hard to read. No dark mode option, for example. No use of color to distinguish different elements.

      Voice directions are slow (like lane advice) and there is no user option to increase or decrease the amount of guidance.

      Traffic avoidance is hit or miss … usually miss because Apple Maps has enough errors in its street mapping that it doesn’t pick up alternate routes. Apple Maps seems to plot your time to destination assuming every traffic light you hit will be green, instead of routing you on slightly longer roads that have far fewer stops.

      Need I go on?

      1. While you are correct, you are actually describing a full fledged GPS system. I’m not sure that Apple intents it’s map’s ability to replace the function of a dedicated GPS unit. For occasional use, it is great! I love it., I would like to have more input options for the routing however, but I can see with Siri you just want a quick and dirty route without having to monkey with routing options. Maybe Apple could offer more options in pre-trip planning?

    3. I have had a few instances of Apple maps giving me bad directions over the years, but none lately. I stopped using Google maps years ago, along with all Google products when they violated my trust as a Mac user and purposely tracked my web activity despite my “do not track” setting. The main players at Google have not changed, and they make 10s 0f billions of $$$ every year as Peeping Toms, so I have no reason to trust them now.

      Apple maps works great, and I trust Apple not to track me if I say I don’t want to be tracked, or hastled with location based ads.

  2. I am one of those people who copies addresses from my Calendar into Google Maps. However, with iOS 9, Apple made that impossible. Now, instead of copying the address, a long encrypted character string is copied, which makes copy/paste from Calendar to Google Maps impossible.

    Apple Maps no longer directs me to the wrong location to 3 of my most frequent destinations, but it still does not offer lane guidance. Transit capabilities are bare bones and useless even in population dense Southern California. There is still no support for bicycling directions. And I really don’t know why neither Apple nor Google Maps care to display the current speed of travel while navigating.

  3. I find Apple Maps to be very accurate – I was recently on a walking path in a public park in Guangzhou (China) and it nailed my location (or at least my iPhone’s) within a meter or so. I also think it is easy to use. I frequent plan a trip on my Mac and then send it to my iPhone or iPad. I am, however, looking forward to street view – for that, have to shift to Google.

  4. Clickbait. Apple Maps is of course going to dominate iPhones, it’s preinstalled and the default mapping app. I’m not saying it’s bad, I love it and use it all the time, but saying it dominates iPhones is like saying cerulean is blue.

  5. I am presently in Bahrain and need to located the Saudi Embassy in Maps but could not get directions from my hotel. It found the Embassy OK and found my hotel as well but could not connect the dots that are only 1.5 kilometres away. Otherwise, in the west coast of Canada and the US, it gets me there wonderfully.

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