40 Comments

Summary:

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, has already apologized for the quality of Maps in iOS 6, which certainly acknowledges the issue. But how big of an issue is it? According to data from Snappli’s iOS app, people quickly adopted Apple Maps only to leave it even faster.

iOS 6 Maps showing Eiffel Tower

How bad is what some are calling Apple’s map-gate? Bad enough that Apple CEO, Tim Cook, offered an online apology on Friday, saying “With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment.” Apple is recommending that users try alternative solutions for iOS while it works hard to address the mapping issues.

Cook’s statement essentially admits there is an issue, but understandably puts little context on the impact to users. That’s why this set of data from Snappli comes in handy to get some quantification of how widespread Apple’s Map issue is on its user base. Snappli offers a mobile app for both Android and iOS devices that compresses data over mobile broadband to help folks use less of their 3G or 4G monthly allowance. By looking at the following data from 5,000 Snappli users on iOS, the following information puts some perspective around iPhone owners and Maps in iOS 6:

  • 64% of Snappli users have migrated to iOS 6 within the last few weeks (UK and US)
  • Before the upgrade to iOS 6, 25% of Snappli users were viewing Google Maps at least once a day
  • Once they moved to iOS 6, that immediately went to 35% of users using Apple Maps
  • However,  over the next 5 days that drops down to 4%
  • Summary: before iOS 6 1 in 4 people were using Google maps at least once a day. After iOS 6: 1 in 25 using Apple maps and falling.

Long story short: We already knew that Apple’s mapping isn’t up to par for many and that the company is working on making the service better. I have no doubt it will as soon as it can. But now we have a reasonable idea of how big of an impact the problem is when it comes to actual users. I suspect Apple does too since it can see how many people are, and were, tapping it for mapping services.

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  1. Wow. 35% usage drops to 4%? That is what we might call a *significant problem* for Apple. Prompt correction needed…

    1. 35% sounds right for people trying out Maps for the first time since they just got a phone. 4% sounds about right for the population in general, because how many people need to look at maps every day? We all know how to get to work, our kids’ schools, the grocery store, etc. Only when you’re going someplace out of the ordinary do you need Maps.

  2. richardmgarrett Friday, September 28, 2012

    I’ve owned and used iOS and Android devices for quite a while. I seldom use Maps (whether the previous Google version or Apple’s version) on iOS. The reason? no navigation. On the other hand, since turn-by-turn navigation is baked into maps on Android, I use it with some frequency — maybe two times a week. In the meanwhile, its kind of fun to see all of the examples Apple’s new reality distortion field, post Steve Jobs!

    1. google does not allow navigation on iOS, that’s why apple did their maps app.
      please be informed, before talking nonsense.

      1. Google indeed does allow it. Otherwise, how would it work on Android? Oh, Google doesn’t allow it on iOS. Why is that? Because Apple refused to include Google Latitude as well. So Apple prevented you from having turn by turn directions because Apple wanted to prevent you from having Latitude preinstalled too. And now your iO-mess has maps that suck. Enjoy.

      2. @Guest. NO. THEY. DONT. – not to 3rd parties. thanks for playing. Here’s the TOS

        https://developers.google.com/maps/terms

        10.2 Restrictions on the Types of Applications that You are Permitted to Build with the Maps API(s). Except as explicitly permitted in Section 8 (Licenses from Google to You) or the Maps APIs Documentation, you must not (nor may you permit anyone else to) do any of the following:

        […]

        (c) No Navigation, Autonomous Vehicle Control, or Enterprise Applications. You must not use the Service or Content with any products, systems, or applications for or in connection with any of the following:

        (i) real time navigation or route guidance, including but not limited to turn-by-turn route guidance that is synchronized to the position of a user’s sensor-enabled device.

      3. @Guest Are you dumb or intentionally blind? Google would not allow Apple to improve/add features to their Maps app without forcing Apple to include Latitude, more prominent Google branding, and allowing Google to collect as much data as they want from iOS users. And Apple is the bad guy for rejecting those terms? You Fandroids will do mental gymnastics to convince yourself that Apple is always wrong and Google is always right.

        Google already spies on me enough, I don’t want them spying on me even more using an Apple app. And I sure as hell don’t want Latitude integrated into my Maps app. And I was already aware of who’s maps they were, so having an even bigger Google branding on the map screen was completely unnecessary.

        Apple took the risk and courage to start from square 1 and create their own service, so Google couldn’t get whatever the hell they wanted from iOS users. Anyone who expects a mapping service to be flawless on day 1 is unreasonable. I’ll tell you this, Apple maps is miles better than GMaps was on day 1, and I guarantee Apple will have it improved and superior to GMaps in a short amount of time.

  3. That drop seems to be users checking out the other map apps. The small time window, however, doesn’t distinguish between users just checking other map apps versus users settling on other applications.

    Just like any disturbance there’s going to be the initial drop, then a bottoming out, followed by a rebound. wash, rinse, repeat. What I’d like to see is what users eventually settle on.

    I expect GigaOm to post a followup on those numbers the next several days to get a complete picture.

  4. It seems to me that the behavior of Snappli users may not, ah, perfectly mirror that of the general iPhone-owning community.

  5. Nicholas Paredes Friday, September 28, 2012

    Personally, I go to the google app to search now. The maps app is nearly worthless since it does no error corrections on names and frankly loads slowly.

    I do remember that this is probably quite valuable in China, but for the US it is horrible. Having done some UX work for Navteq last year, it is quite amazing what Google has done with the data. It is also interesting to feel the pain of removing that data from my mobile life!

  6. Not to over-generalize, but people savvy enough to install a bandwidth-minimizing app are probably also most likely to seek out a third-party map solution, so that decline is probably exaggerated.

  7. Folks let’s be serious here. The maps suck so bad Cook had to apologize and you’re here in the comments trying to question a drop in usage? Its pretty simple. The maps aren’t working for them so they aren’t using them. Hoping for some rebound so Apple doesn’t look bad isnt going to change this. And expect more failures as this game moves to services.

  8. I suspect the initial high usage is due to people curious to try it out and see the warped imagery and incorrect location names and pins.

  9. “… People quickly adopted Apple Maps only to leave it even faster”. I am sorry to point that out, but, first comes the Maps, and then, before you know it, people are going to leave iPhone for other phones. It is sad, and remarkable at the same time, how painfully obvious the absence of Steve jobs is!

    1. Really? You really think people are going to give up their iPhones just because the new maps happens to be weak right now? Since when did the iPhone because just a navigation device? Or any other smart phone for that matter.

  10. Is iPhone 5 the most defective Apple product, ever? The list of problems is growing: http://goo.gl/jji44

    1. Wow– a site dedicated to disparaging a product. It’s like an “anti-fan” page. I can see someone taking on an endeavor due to enthusiasm, but to do so out of some sort of hate… well that’s just weird. Some people need to get a life, I guess.

    2. You very badly need a more productive hobby.

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