86 Comments

Summary:

Last week Snappli, a data compression app, found that among 5,000 of its iOS users, many quickly began using Apple Maps only to see 1 in 25 such users keep using it. Some questioned the data and today Snappli explains the methodology it used.

iOS 6 Maps showing Eiffel Tower

Last week, data surfaced from app development shop, Snappli, suggesting that a large number of iOS users quickly tried iOS Maps and just as quickly dumped it. Since Apple launched Maps, its CEO, Tim Cook, offered up a public apology on the mapping issues and the iTunes App Store began featuring map alternatives. Clearly, there’s something not quite right. But folks looking to see the bright side of the picture don’t believe Snappli’s data so on Tuesday, the company penned a blog post to explain the methodology behind the numbers.

Because Snappli is a data compression service, some assumed that Snappli was simply looking at smartphone data usage to determine that Maps had a fast uptake, only to see 1 in 25 users continue to use it. And since Apple’s Maps use vector graphics combined with pre-loaded map data, it doesn’t need to keep getting more data for usage, so Snappli’s report was considered inaccurate. That’s actually a reasonable assumption, but it’s an incorrect one based on Snappli’s post, with emphasis added by me:

“[W]e were looking to see if we could detect any anonymized traffic from the Apple Maps app on any given day. We were not looking at the total amount of data used by the app. Our goal was to measure popularity, not how data hungry the app was, nor the impact of vector graphics.

Some of you have asked us whether we accounted for variability in traffic over days of the week – the answer is yes, we made the effort to look at usage for the five days before and the five days after a day zero (with day zero being the day each user updated to iOS 6).”

As I read this then — and I’ve clarified multiple items with the Snappli team over email today — the company’s report last week had nothing to do with the amount of data use for iOS devices running Maps; it simply checked the usage of maps, which would throw out the whole vector graphics argument. A Snappli rep told me in no uncertain terms that “Data we published was based on users using the app at all rather than on how much data.” I did additional inquiry, asking about Snappli’s process for apps that don’t use any data and was told:

“Snappli would know if any app was accessed or engaged with as long as any amount of data whatsoever is requested. When we used the terminology “using the app” we mean the user or the app itself actually making a data request of some kind however minimal. While Apple Maps has been shown to use less data than Google on iOS on a like for like basis due to use of vector graphics, there is still almost always a data request of some kind when users engage. So while its possible for a user to open an app, scroll a previously downloaded map and hence not pass any data whatsoever and therefore not be measured by Snappli, this is certainly an edge case.”

Essentially then, any iOS Maps user that didn’t request a single byte of data would pass by Snappli, sight unseen. That scenario — called an edge case by Snappli — would skew the data towards fewer Maps users, but even with those cases, it’s reasonable to believe that in Snappli’s data set, a large number of users stopped using Maps within a few days of upgrading to iOS 6. Other possibilities for the Snappli results: Perhaps the sample simply doesn’t use Maps on a regular basis or Maps is so efficient that it works with local device data for the majority of people’s needs.

Apple users are typically supportive of the company’s devices and services — and I mean that in a good way — so I wasn’t surprised to see enthusiasts dig a little deeper into Snappli’s original data. Besides, Snappli is a young startup so again, it’s reasonable to make certain assumptions and question them.

However, it appears that among its sample size of 5,000 Snappli users, most are looking outside of Apple for mapping needs. And the company’s founders, Eldar Tuvey and Roy Tuvey previously founded ScanSafe, which mined over 3 billion daily web requests, creating weekly industry research for several years before Cisco acquired it.

Will the Maps issue to any extent slow iPhone sales or have any major impacts to Apple? I doubt that; if anything it will help Apple make a good product even better as the company moves quickly to fix any issues in the Maps application.

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  1. Idon’t Know Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    It’s idiotic and you should know better than to publish this foolishness.

  2. The response skirts around caching by calling it an edge case. That’s not good enough. I’ve seen the reports of people using maps with no data connection, so caching can’t just be brushed away as an edge case.

    1. Kevin C. Tofel Iva Tuesday, October 2, 2012

      I think what makes the situation different to understand, Iva, is exactly what you’ve observed because every case is unique. We’re all looking for different map data or directions to different locations, so it’s hard to quantify and aggregate.

      1. Kevin, my appologies, but I can’t make sense of your reply.

        It should be fairly straightforward, if Snappli works as it says it does, to see if the sample of 5000 was using an alternative mapping app. If not, then either the sample doesn’t use mapping very much or Apple maps is very efficient with caching. But you can’t make a blanket statement that it is because everyone is dumping Apple Maps, especially when Snappli has the data to say otherwise.

      2. Every case is not unique though. Every person is usually looking at maps around where they live and work. If you just stick to doing that it’s quite possible to use no data in multiple launches of the iOS6 Maps app, as I verified using a web proxy. I could even zoom in and out in locations I had zoomed into before without using data.

        Almost everyone mostly spends time around a specific area, and those areas are easily cached.

      3. Kevin, it may simply be that the “edge case” is far more frequent than expected. Per Charles Arthur in the Guardian, he traveled all over Korea for more than a day with no data connection whatsoever — yet Maps continued to show street level detail.

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/sep/29/apple-maps-how-good

        1. Yup, great point, Michael, and I linked to the same article in my post. People seem focused on looking/panning/zooming, but what happens when you turn off your data connection and do a simple Maps search? When I do that, I get no results. When I reactivate the connection, I get results. So I think a small bit of data would be passed for that fairly standard use case. Thanks!

        2. Michael, just to follow up a bit more on my last comment, I searched for directions in Maps without a connection and, as expected, got an error that the Map server was unavailable. That means any search for directions passes data and therefore, Snappli should see it. Long story short: Snappli may not be able to see who’s using Maps for looking at maps, but it should be able to see Maps usage for searches and directions. Thoughts?

      4. when I read the piece yesterday about the guy who had maps but no network, I decided to do a test. tracked my location all the way to work (about 2 miles on the bus). when I got to the office I turned airplane mode ON – so all my radios were off (iphone 5). I was able to see everything along my route.. including zoom. wander off the tiles I had already downloaded showed nothing. so it appears clear to me that maps works w/o data (i was using vector). I had usable maps, and Snappli would have no idea I was using them.

        1. Vera, that’s a good test that proves how much map data is cached. Can you try again, but this time when you turn off your connection, search for something on the map or request directions. I believe both of these activities do request mobile data. Thanks!

  3. Did anybody think that a lot of people opened up Maps to look at it right after they bought the phone or upgraded to iOS 6, and since then haven’t been looking at it? I mean, most of us already know how to get work, and that’s where we go 5 days a week. I don’t use Maps every day, but I definitely played around with it a bunch the day I upgraded to iOS 6.

    1. And that’s exactly what I think happened. I doubt very much that a large percentage of people use maps (Apple’s now, Google’s before) every day…most of us use maps once or twice a week, to get to a new place for the first (few) time(s) (my spatial memory sucks, I need to drive to a place 3 or 4 times before it sticks), and then not anymore. I mostly use Waze for my navigation (Google maps sucks for navigation in .mx, apple maps didn’t change that at all), but I use it, at most, 3 times a week, and I’m pretty sure I’m actually more a typical use case than an atypical one.

  4. So far I have used iOS Maps about a dozen times. In each case the information was accurate and I appreciated the lack of “clutter” on my iPhone when I even glanced at it. In most cases the voice navigation was more than sufficient to guide me to my destination.

    I did not do any “flybys” or worry about satellite images that much, although, when I did they were fine in my geo area in Southern California.

    Antenna-gate “tempest in a teapot” again?

    1. Exactly. So overblown.

  5. uh, that is not the reason we should trust the data, because again, the maps app doesn’t need to grab data over and over again, even on the second or third visit…

    as most people are finding out, Apple’s Maps are not nearly as bad as the over hype media machine suggests, by pointing to a few landmarks out of place… as if google didn’t have any mistakes…

    someone did a study on Canada, and 800 locations were not correct, most were not even in canada…

    1. Marco Tabini tried to compare the same spots on Google Maps and the result shows that Apple Maps aren’t quite that bad in Ontario:

      http://vore.cc/post/32503374905/old-maps-vs-new-maps

      tl/dr; The locations were often not found on Google Maps either, but Google will always return a result even if it is inaccurate (for example Google put more of the locations outside of Canada), Apple tries to make more accurate matches.

      1. Marco’s analysis is flawed. CLGeocoder (the method he used to generate his results) doesn’t actually use Google Maps, even under iOS 5; it’s an internal geocoding system at Apple. So, his entire post is moot, since he’s comparing Apple’s data with … Apple’s data.

        The actual results given by Google Maps are much, much better than his analysis indicates.

        For what it’s worth, Apple’s road data in Ontario is very accurate — they’re just oddly missing the names for a ton of small towns.

        References:

  6. also, the graph itself implies the exact opposite, that Google has lost all of it’s users, because Google maps did not pick up from where the supposed loss of people using Apple Maps…

    it is pretty clear that most all are using Apple maps from their own data…

  7. The same way Apple uses 3rd party hardware components should apply to software components ( like maps and youtube). Apple simply cannot assume they make the best software. In fact, they only make the best platform and let 3rd party developers do the heavy lifting on apps. Google has spent years and billions to make maps what it is today and I am sure they wont be standing still while Apple tries to catch up. Apple should swallow their pride and put google maps back on. If not, they will certainly be looking at reduced sales of future products based on the inferior maps app they are stuck with. Maps is one of the highest use apps on mobile and users won’t settle.

    1. actually, it will be extremely easy for Apple to catch up and actually make maps twice as good as Google’s, nobody is analyzing Google’s data, when they did, in Ontario, they found 800 locations of meta data were not correct, most of them were not even in Canada… and the really big reason that Apple will easily surpass Google maps, Apple is using 3D vectoring… Google is not… and 3D vectoring brings about huge advantages… what will be funny too is when Google realizes they have to use 3D vectoring, they will run into the exact same problems… which are a few errors… they will of lost about half of all those years of “experience” and money…..

      most of the problems people are pointing out, are meta data out of place, this just requires someone typing in the correct location data… these are on servers, and Apple wouldn’t even have to release an update to the app to correct that data… that is extremely quick to fix too….

      I realize you’ve fallen for what the media has portrayed, but the fact is, Apple’s Maps are pretty good… not perfect, but pretty good, especially for a first version… it seems every single person who actually tries to use Apple maps for the intended purpose, actually got where they were going… including Consumer reports who did a comparison in NY, and another set of bloggers did one in San francisco, and basically all the regular people in between are finding their towns are well represented…

      so while you are claiming Apple didn’t make good software, you are basing it on the same media who said Apple was sunk because they didn’t include Flash, and look how that turned out…. and the same media talking about Antenna-Gate, which turned out to be in their heads… if you squeezed a Samsung phone tight you would also loose reception they found out. you’ll notice Apple never changed the antenna design in the iPhone 4 nor the basic design in iPhone 4S for that matter, and suddenly no one was complaining about antenna’s anymore…

      why? because Apple released on most carriers, so people could compare actual literal side by side, and the differences were minimal…. Antenna Gate… yet Apple sold more iPhone 4s and iPads than Samsung did in smartphones, iPhone 5 will sell twice as many as any combination of several of Samsungs phones….

      because people are actually noticing that the iPhone 5 is really good, and maps is pretty good….

      1. And you have fallen for the apple fanboy hype sorry to say…..

    2. i agee 100%

    3. “Apple simply cannot assume they make the best software.”

      Really? So Apple revolutionized the mobile industry by introducing software so bad that Google completely redesigned Android to make it a bad copy of iOS. Software so bad that everyone – Google, RIM, HP, Microsoft, Nokia – has been struggling ever since to catch up. Yeah, that sounds like a company that doesn’t make the best software.

      Oh, and you do realize that the previous Maps app was made by Apple, NOT Google? It used Google’s data, but the actual Maps app has always been built by Apple. And as far as software goes, the new Maps app is superior in every way to the previous version: vector graphics, 3D flyover, turn by turn voice navigation, etc. The only problem with the new app is the data, the software is absolutely beautiful and one of the best (if not the best) mapping apps on any platform.

  8. What sliver of iOS users are using this proxy service that nobody had heard of prior to their press release, and what correlation is there between people who need to use a proxy and those who use maps, or specifically Apple’s?

    Also, who prints such tenuous assumptions and leaps of logic as “reasonable enough sounding facts for a headline!” Oh right.

  9. Look at what this new iPhone 5 under Tim Cook has brought, a bad decision about doing away with Google Maps. Now read the stories coming out now about how the new iOS 6 has a “Purple Haze” issue with it’s camera and how it does not let some people connect to their wifi system and now stories coming out about how iPhone 4 and 4s owners are complaining about accelerated drain from the new iOS 6 as well. This is just bad hardware and software, that is all it is and not worth the money for inferior products just to be part of the club.

    My wife and I have bought 2 each of the 3GS about 6 months after they came out and we loved them, we then bought 2 each of the 4’s about 3 months after they came out, of our 4 iPhones we bought them all in Singapore over the Singapore Apple website and whenever I went to Singapore I would pick them up at our apartment. I did ask on both purchases if I could have it fixed in Jakarta (our main home) if we had problems with them. Both times Apple’s Singapore staff told me yes they could fix them in Jakarta. It was not true.

    After only one month my wife’s iPhone 4 stopped working. I contacted Apple many many times and it took more than 6 weeks to finally have Apple to repair the phone free of charge even though it was under their so called warranty.

    When I made complaints to Apple Singapore about this and climbed up the complaint ladder in Singapore I was told by the last Apple Singapore staff that he was the last one I could complain to, no one else was higher in the Singapore office even though he was only in Customer complaint division. LOL. Again more Apple lies. I was given very bad information by the Apple employees for the repair for the phone and the arrogance I received exceeded anything I have been submitted to by any other company in this world.

    Have you ever tried to contact Apple via email? I then searched the net and emailed the only email address I could find, media@apple.com. Then I was contacted by Apple SE Asia and they refused to responsibility for their staff and the way I had been treated and then the staff got really arrogant and did not care that I was grossly misinformed, it was arrogance extraordinaire and I could not get her iPhone 4s fixed in Jakarta but had to make a trip back to Singapore to do it.

    No longer will we financially support Apple, they only want money now for untested inferior software and blah products like the iPhone 5 that is still playing catch up to the Samsung Galaxy S3. The home button is crap already on my wife’s Apple iPhone 4 so yesterday she got her new Samsung Galaxy S3, she loves it and easily transferred all data and contacts over from her Apple 4 with the Samsung software.

    If you want to really let Apple know how you feel about these injustices done by this arrogant company then contact these people:
    Jayesh Kamath jayesh.k@apple.com Janine Beach jbeach@apple.com Frank Teo frank_teo@apple.com media.help@apple.com Shelley Reid sreid1@asia.apple.com media@apple.com

    1. you do realize that there are no Apple Stores or staff in Singapore right? and that there are third party resellers, some of them not legit…

      and that you were complaining about Apple staff at Singapore, and Jakarta that do not exist….

      so you had a third party reseller, tell you that you could fix your phone in jakarta at a non existent Apple presence? or that some other third party reseller was going to fix it for you???

      and now you are blaming Apple about the words of a third party non associated reseller??

      i can picture the conversation now with Apple…. you need to send it in…. yes, and it will take a long time to get it back to you…. no we don’t have any stores in jakarta….

      no we don’t have any stores in jakarta… you have to send it in….

      i imagine after about the fifth time they having to say this to you, that you felt they sounded arrogant alright… you probably have that right….

      1. Unfortunate for you, both at Singapore and Jakarta, there’s legitimate Apple Stores. I can confirm some of their place if I had the mind, though there’s one near my place.
        Your arrogance, Honk Jhonk, is more like the Apple’s guys arrogance. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, why don’t you just sew your mouth shut?

      2. Checking http://www.apple.com/retail/ … no Apple Stores in Singapore. So no Apple staff. You have been dealing with a reseller. Their customer service is nothing to do with Apple.

        Visiting http://www.apple.com/sg/service/ would have found you an official supported service centre, did you do this?

        Apple don’t offer support via email. You have to call them. There number is 800-186-1087.

        There less than 1 minute and I have solved your problem. Seriously, whine and bitch on a board, rather than actually do something about it – Apple don’t need you as a customer, you are a drain on their resources.

    2. C-Cross, again, there are no Apple retail stores in Singapore, or Jakarta, there are THIRD PARTY RESELLERS selling Apple products, some are not legit… all you had to do to show you didn’t know what you were talking about, was to show the link to the locations….

      since you don’t know the difference between an Apple Store, and a Third party reseller, I imagine you too would have felt everyone you spoke to, started to sound arrogant after they told you five times there are no Apple Retail stores around you.

      1. Honk is perfectly right, there are no apple retail stores in either Singapore to Jakarta, only (premium) resellers. To be clear, what we mean by “Apple Store(s)” are retails outlets run by Apple the company. The way one tells if it’s a real Apple Store is by the presence of Genius Bars, and you would well know that there are no Genius Bars in either Singapore or Jakarta.

    3. The “purple haze” problem existed before the iPhone 5 and exists on other phones/cameras too.

      http://www.dpreview.com/articles/6867454450/quick-review-apple-iphone-5-camera/3

  10. Obviously people will open the map app and play with it when they first receive the phone. Everyone is curious to see the changes, however, not many people have use for a map app on their daily life.

  11. Snappli users are a very specific subset of mostly tech users, the tech users are the ones most vocal about the issue, what about the millions that don’t care about some errors in maps that will eventually get fixed? I suggest if you do a sample of those people you would come up with the exact opposite conclusion.

    This is the primary reason we go through this with every apple launch with every product and in ALL cases the general population doesn’t care what the vocal minority thinks……

    1. But it’s not then news is it. Of course we now all know about this ‘Snappli’ outfit. Unfortunately.

  12. I cannot believe anything near that many users have “dumped” the maps program because a bunch of bloggers – you included – are trying to create a mass hysteria over this issue. I would be willing to bet almost any amount of money that if you took all the complaints from users – real users, not bloggers, not Samsung of MS shills – that the complaints about maps would be very few – because you know what, there are actually not that many errors. So where does all the hysteria come from? Idiots, that’s who. Stop feeding this stupid monster, GigaOM and Mr. Tofler; it’s a non-issue.

  13. I’d say the info here & from Suppli is quite wrong. I can go into airplane mode and zoom maps out to the national level. It appears that Maps.app caches a lot of data and does so hierarchically (large roads are cached nationwide, local ones over a much smaller distance but certainly out to several miles around my typical home location). It seems quite possible that many common invocations of maps will not need to pull down any data.

  14. I doubt that percentage of people even know that you can use an alternative mapping solution or know how.

  15. I misstated your name in my previous comment, Mr. Tofel. I apologize. But now will you just shut up about Maps anyway? Jeez.

  16. I totally believe this article. A guy I work with is an Apple fan, an iPhone 4 owner, and is not short of money to buy gadgets, but he’s holding off on buying the iPhone 5 because of the maps issue. While the initial uptake on the 5 was big, I wonder if continuing sales aren’t being affected by the maps debacle. I also use the Google Maps app (it has prime location on my iPhone 4) for driving directions and locating addresses, and I will not downgrade to Apple maps. This has really been an especially arrogant move by Apple, and that’s saying something.

    1. Well, that settles it. You know a guy who won’t buy an iPhone 5 because of Maps. And you won’t try maps because of things you read on the internet, where everything is true. Given this recent information, I don’t know why Apple is even thinking of selling these phones. They should just take them off the market.

    2. The wait for new iPhone 5’s is two weeks. How does that indicate people are holding off at all? The maps issue is TOTALLY overblown. In most cities maps works perfectly fine. In mine in fact routing gave me a better route to my house (the one I actually drive) instead of the ones most GPS systems give. And Maps now uses way less data than the old version.

    3. So you are relying on Google Maps for driving directions… they don’t even give you turn-by-turn so that’s quite dangerous. Careful when you drive.

      You’ve not updated to iOS 6, or have you, and still think you are using Google maps, like one of my ‘friends’ who was so stupid I couldn’t believe him. “I’m not upgrading to iPhone 5 as the maps suck” he said, and then minutes later ‘isn’t the new Google maps app so much faster on the 4S’. He’d updated and was using Apple Maps, not knowing the difference. I laughed so hard!

      1. Yes, Google Maps on the iPhone didn’t give turn-by-turn and it was slow.

        Anybody using the iPhone for navigation regularly is likely already using some other app (like Navigon).

  17. A sample of 5000 out of 100,000,000 users. If that sample were a designed group to try to mimic the global population as a whole then drawing a conclusion would have some statistical relevance. As it stands, it’s slightly more useful than a rumour but far from satisfactory for drawing conclusions.

  18. I don’t care for Apple, but I do care for good research. What you don’t report is why a time window of 5 days?

    Without that justification one glaring answer could be: “Because using a different time window actually showed that iPhone users were NOT switching. We just picked that time window because the results fit best with the story.”

    1. Jason, that’s a good question for the Snappli folks. Bear in mind that their data came out on Sept. 28, or roughly 8 days after iOS 6 and Maps was available, so their report couldn’t go out any further. Add in another day to capture, compile data and you get 7 days at best. I’m not suggesting your question is off-base, but the data window was limited to begin with, no?

  19. Terrible. Come on most people won’t even notice Maps has changed.

    Might as well pull out the tea leaves and tarot cards for your next article.

    And how can people be dumping something they just got. I think you have to actually go out with the girl before you can dump her. Talking with her for a few days doesn’t count.

    Sensationalist.

    And note I am not saying that people love Maps or hate Maps. But I can tell you this mumbo jumbo literally means nothing.

    Although let me say that Maps is far from the black eye some purport it to be. It actually runs faster, has all the satellite imagery in my case and every street is there for me as we’ll and directions have worked perfectly so far. Listening to the rage you would think one is now asked to navigate by the moon and look for moss on trees to know where they are going.

  20. Where I live, Google’s satellite and street images are more than five years old. I did a major remodel of my business in 2008 where I absorbed adjoining buildings and the roofline changed drastically. You’ll no see those changes in Google. Street view is as old, or older. When we tried to update some things that Google had wrong, I had to deal with a self-important intern who wouldn’t budge, even after he requested photos of the street, because what I sent did not match the street view. Of course it didn’t. That was the point. So the information remains outdated.

    Bing puts us over 20 miles in the wrong direction, in a totally different city, and it cannot be changed. As Facebook uses Bing, maps for events on Facebook are worthless. When localization is used when posting, it lists the location as the outlying city. It’s the equivalent of posting something in Manhattan and Facebook saying that you were posting “Near Long Island City.” Ridiculous, stupid, and not fixable.

    Apple is the only one of the three that has current satellite images – beautiful ones BTW – and addresses plotted correctly – around here anyway.

    I have long been frustrated with the inaccuracies of Google and Bing. WTF is there not a slew of articles about those providers? I would guess it’s because people expect slight inaccuracies and outdated content in a map. People know and accept how fast things change. Somehow or other, the pundits and bloggers decided that Apple had to be perfect or they’d tear it apart. Idiots.

  21. Zero data is not an edge case. I’ve been looking at a city I’m about to travel to, and also some stuff around where I live in Apple Maps.

    hooking up my iPhone through a web proxy, I can open the Maps app, move around the other town in Maps (even zooming in and out), then request my current location and zoom to where I am all without using any data. If I closed the app at that point there would have been zero data used – I scrolled off to the side until I was looking at a new area and I see maps loading new data through my proxy.

    If you are looking at the same area in Maps a lot (like most people are) it will not use data.

  22. How is Snappli getting between the Maps app and the data? In other words, how does Snappli know when the Maps app makes a data request? The data should go straight from the iPhone to Apple’s servers.

  23. Jack Foster Mancilla Wednesday, October 3, 2012

    Prior to iOS 6, I used Waze for vocal turn by turn, And I would use Google Maps once in a while. … I found Google Maps almost useless while driving, since I had to look at the phone to figure out where i was going. … Now, in iOS 6, I use the built in maps program almost exclusively. That Google would not implement voice turn by turn, although useful selling their brands of phones, was petty and short sighted. The iPhone maps will most certainly improve, and google has lost a major market share. Poof!

  24. Kevin,

    We are awaiting your apology for this column: “After fast uptake, Apple Maps use plunges to 1 in 25 iOS owners”.

    Do you really think this could be true? Ever heard of normal everyday users reacting to a problem with your presumed unanimity?

    Here’s a hint: Get your hands on an i5 and report on some intelligent tests you execute. Discover how Maps works re data access and report on THAT.

    You would get a lot of respect for explaining the results with your apology, if the apology is necessary.

    1. If an apology is necessary, I’m happy to provide one. I haven’t seen any empirical data that refutes what I’ve reported based on Snappli’s data. Is their survey perfect? Doubtful, but it’s a solid indicator based on the methodology as I understand it. And I’ve used Maps on iOS 6. Did it work for me? Yes, but I found it lacking. That’s just my opinion, however, and I fully understand it could be just fine for some.

      Two serious questions: If there was no Maps problem, why did Tim Cook offer a public apology and why are there mapping alternatives front and center in the iTunes App Store?

      1. Of course, you found Apple Maps lacking, Mr. Tofel. All maps apps are lacking in some way. But I agree with pk22901, you should apologize for reporting this drivel. You can’t look at their conclusions and not think they’re something fundamentally and horribly wrong with what they’re saying. It defies all logic and no matter how much they insist it’s true, it can’t be. Their conclusion is ridiculous. And your defense of their conclusion is ridiculous as well. I’m sure you’re pleased with the number of responses here in the comments section, but is it worth your reputation and the respect of your readers? Look at the comments. Hardly any of us believe Snappli’s conclusions, not for a minute. Nothing short of a hot poker emerging rom the iPhone would cause 24 out of 25 people to abandon an app like that. Think about it. It defies all logic. And what map apps are these people using now? Does Snappli know that? Did some other maps app all of a sudden sell in the millions? Think about the implications. Acknowledge that most likely Snappli’s report is flawed, apologize for taking it at face value and giving it legs, and let’s move on. Most likely we’ll forgive you for making this horrible gaffe.

        1. Appreciate the comment, Peter. Could there be a flaw in Snappli’s methodology? It’s possible. Observing that maps works for you and other commenters here doesn’t prove the methodology wrong though. I think we’d all need more empirical information before saying it does. I also think folks are focusing on the wrong issue, however.

          It’s safe to say there’s a Maps issue, yes? Most commenters here aren’t acknolowleging that but how can you overlook a CEO public apology, alternatives on the front page of the iTunes App Store and even a WSJ review of Maps suggesting that most folks would generally be better served by Google Maps? I think it’s safe to say there’s an issue.

          My entire purpose for looking at the data was to see the *extent* of the issue and this was one way to do so. If you have a better way, I’m all for it. Could the extent be overblown here? Absolutely, but how do we quantify it? Half of regular users aren’t served best by Maps? More than half? I honestly don’t know, outside of what I have to work with.

          Your other questions around about what other maps apps folks are using is a good one and I’m happy to ask my Snappli contacts if they’re not already following this thread. Of course, then I run the risk of continuing to “give this legs” so it’s essentially a lose-lose situation. ;) Again, appreciate the comment and thoughts.

      2. Then you did not read my response above. Using a web proxy I was quite easily able to verify that I could zoom around a city I had viewed before AND then pan back to where I live, all without generating a single request from the Apple Maps server.

        If I were mostly looking at the area around where I live and work you could easily launch Maps multiple times and make no data requests.

      3. The problem is that the burden of proof is on Snappli and on journalists to verify claims carefully and not on readers to offer refutation.

        There are obvious holes in Snappli’s case. As I mention elsewhere (where I accidentally spelled Snappli’s name wrong), I can view a local map near my house and switch to airplane mode. In this mode, I can zoom out until the entire US is visible and still see highways. In the great metro area around my house, I can see most major roads. And, once I’m within my typical daily travel area, I can see most of the local roads and businesses as well.

        A typical use case is to periodically check maps to see if they’re on track or to make sure they’ve reached their destination correctly. Using the old app, this would result in frequent data transfer. With the new one, it often results in no transfer.

        This behavior alone requires that Snappli explicitly characterize it and take it into account. Since they seem not to have done so, their conclusions are irrelevent and not worthy of being promoted by journalists. It used to be that a company had to earn attention. Now, it seems to be the default regardless of the quality of their output.

      4. @Kevin

        The CEO apologized because it was becoming a PR issue.

      5. No Kevin, sorry, but think about what you are saying. There were more than 100 million iOS 6 downloads. You are saying that 96 million people – 96 MILLION PEOPLE – are refusing to use the Maps app. Think about what you are saying. It’s absurd!

  25. Who is Snappli and why should I care?

  26. I. for one, have stopped using my iPhone for maps entirely. I now pull out an Android phone I purchased just because the new iOS maps app is so terrible and I use the Android phone solely for the maps. Then I put the Android away and use my iPhone.

    That may be why Snappli is seeing this data. I’m sure lot’s of people are doing something similar.

    Right.

    1. Rick Parris, I doubt 24 of 25 people just happen to have a spare Android phone (with contract, I presume) in their pocket just in case they need to look at a map.

      1. Er… even *I* knew Rick was being sarcastic. ;)

      2. Oops… nope missed that.

  27. This still doesn’t necessarily answer the question.

    Let’s assume I open the Maps app (old or new), and it downloads the map tile for the area I’m looking at. That’s one request. Next, I want to zoom in on that tile to see more detail. As I understand it, with the Google maps, it will send a new request to get a new tile with the next level of map detail. With Apple’s maps, it already has the vector image and can zoom without making a new request. So this would look like two requests on the Google maps and only one on Apple’s. Correct?

    1. It’s sort of correct. You can zoom to some degree but at a certain level it’s requesting new data about an area…. However because the data is so much more compact than images, Apple can keep a lot more of it around for future use and in fact they do. So if you’ve already zoomed into an area on the map future visits zooming in and out can be done with no more data requested.

  28. So this group can monitor data usage on individual phones enough to say people aren’t using Apple Maps at all?

    Then why don’t they just say what other maps people are using instead? They should know that, too. Why are they keeping that info secret?

  29. Obviously if you can navigate around a country without a data connection, that phone is NOT contacting Apple Maps. Snappli hasn’t addressed this other than attempting to define it away.

    I also wonder about the slope of their “five days before” data, which increases approaching the iOS6 upgrade date. Is it possible that the pre-upgrade number is inflated due to interest in the map feature pre-upgrade? I would think that Snappli should be able to pull in a relatively steady-state number for the pre-upgrade rather than the curve they show. If Snappli data were representative of general iPhone users, I’d be surprised to see iOS5 numbers of 25% of users actually using maps every day; informal surveying around the office shows a much lower self-reporting number which seems closer to 10% of people hitting maps on a specific day / most users using the maps one day a week or less. Of course, perhaps Snappli’s user base is NOT representative of general iPhone users …

    How confident is Snappli that data coming from the “Maps app” is really all that Maps cares about? Is it possible that Maps does a significant amount of its communications through OS-level network activity instead of through app-level network activity?

    Also, I’m assuming that the 30% of users using Maps every day who stopped doing so after four more days didn’t decide to just wander around aimlessly afterwards, right? What apps is Snappli seeing taking over for that? I’d be very surprised to see Safari / Google Maps taking over, but the absence of pointing to other apps taking over for Maps it seems like that is what Snappli is suggesting.

    Finally, just a note on applying Snappli numbers to “iPhone users”. It doesn’t work, statistically. There are a very small number of Snappli users, and I would guess that they are generally not representative of the majority of iPhone users.

    1. “Obviously if you can navigate around a country without a data connection, that phone is NOT contacting Apple Maps”

      Obviously if I can read my email in flight mode, the phone is NOT contacting my email server when I open Mail.app.

      “Is it possible that the pre-upgrade number is inflated due to interest in the map feature pre-upgrade?”

      In what coked-up world do you live in where interest in Maps was higher before iOS 6 was released then after?!?!? If anything the numbers should be way higher now when everyone tests the new version, especially after all the negative publicity. Not to mention more people should be using it now that it has turn-by-turn etc.

  30. If the request is made through Siri would it show as a map request?

  31. Well I suppose they use iPhone as a telephone

  32. The one time I’ve used the new Map app, it was as accurate as the old Map. And doing a search on Google Maps quite often leaves me a half block away from where the actual location. So the question is are we holding Apple to a level that Google really didn’t meet?

    1. Yes. Of course. This is overblown. These things always get overblown.

      Afaik the street data in Maps is from Tom Tom and presumably in every TomTom GPS in millions of cars around the world. Never heard any outrage about them except for the usual grumbling a associated with every GPS device.

  33. Snappli should read up on vector graphics and cacheing some more.

  34. Apple Maps has worked flawlessly here for me in Maryland. I find turn by turn so useful I will be using the new map much more than I was the one Google shipped withholding that functionality for themselves.

  35. Why doesn’t Snappli say what navigation apps are being used instead? Also, it’s far from a random sample. Snappli users are, I’m sure, less likely to be using stock apps than the average iPhone user.

  36. What was iMaps usage before iO6? That is the figure to compare against. Not the number of iMap looks immediately after iPhone 5 and iOS6 was introduced. I checked out iMaps when I upgraded to iOS 6. Now I’m back to my more normal habit of hardly using it.

  37. then where’s the requisite INCREASE in the use of other apps? surely those 5000 users need to get their map fix from something. WHAT ARE THEY USING?

  38. Just a quick question. As a follow up could you breakdown what apps users are turning to instead of Apple maps for mapping data?

  39. Even if Maps works without data, that says nothing about if Maps will use a data connection if one exists. Maybe it hits the server to check if it needs to update the cache, or to read traffic data, or any other of the little things it may do.

  40. No Kevin, sorry, but think about what you are saying. There were more than 100 million iOS 6 downloads. You are saying that 96 million people – 96 MILLION PEOPLE – are refusing to use the Maps app. Think about what you are saying. It’s absurd!

  41. Here in Manhattan, I used to launch the maps app every single time I go to a show or restaurant, because (when it included transit directions) it would tell me which subway lines I should use (in cases where more than one might be appropriate) and exactly when the next trains would arrive so I knew whether I should hurry or could take it easy walking to the subway stop.

    Now, there’s no point launching Maps at all for that sort of query – doing so takes a bunch of extra clicks and delay in order to launch some other third-party app which I could just as well just launch directly. I’ve switched to usually launching KICKMaps, an app that doesn’t even *show up* in Apple’s list of available transit apps.

    (it’s also a huge pain that the walking map doesn’t show the names of the subway lines that stop at particular subway stations – that factor alone is making me investigate other alternatives)

    So my own personal usage profile is consistent with the story of people dumping the Maps app – I use it a small fraction as often as before and might well stop using it altogether.

  42. It isn’t just about how much less data Apple Maps use compared to Google Maps in order to complete the same set of lookups all over America. It’s also about how the data is cached and reused in future lookups around the same areas. In the past week, I did a few searches in Palo Alto, San Francisco and New York City, and each time I panned a bit around the immediate area. Now if I switch the phone to Airplane Mode, I can still browse my maps to the highest level of detail not just around the few locations I searched but over the *entire* Bay Area and the *entire* city of New York – and I still get the second highest level of detail over all of California, eastern New York and huge swaths of Nevada, Oregon and New Jersey. Without any data connection! Try that with Google Maps… No wonder people believe the Apple Maps app saw a 25x drop in usage.

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