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How Google Maps may have actually helped Apple

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Apple may be “seething” over the joyous reaction to Google Maps'(s GOOG) return to iOS, but there also may be reason for Apple(s AAPL) to be grudgingly thankful. According to one ad exchange, the number of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users upgrading their software to the latest version of iOS has risen noticeably since Google’s navigation app appeared last week.

Across the 12,000 apps and 12 ad networks it tracks, MoPub saw impressions from devices using iOS 6 rise 29 percent between last Tuesday, Dec. 11 and Saturday, Dec. 15, it told Techcrunch. MoPub believes that change is caused by people finally upgrading to iOS 6, after holding out for Google’s alternative to Apple Maps. As in, they wanted to stay with an earlier version of iOS in which the old version of Google Maps was the default navigation app, instead of upgrading and having Apple Maps as the default service.

That’s not a bad hypothesis. Anecdotally, I’ve observed this trend of waiting to upgrade among my friends and family. MoPub’s report differs from what Chitika had reported last week — that the rate of devices running iOS 6 (at least in the U.S. and Canada) grew just 0.2 percent between Wednesday and Friday last week. Taken together with MoPub’s data, it could be that many waited until Saturday to upgrade.

Apple already enjoys an incredibly quick adoption rate of its latest mobile OS whenever it releases one — for iOS 6, north of 60 percent just one month after release in September. Google’s latest version of Android, by way of comparison, is at just 2.7 percent adoption as of November.

Either way, while the entire Maps episode doesn’t improve Apple’s reputation with online services, it does show that users continue to stick with Apple devices anyway.

11 Responses to “How Google Maps may have actually helped Apple”

  1. Mark Birkinshaw

    I am one of those that supports the anecdotal evidence. I upgraded my iPad and found that Apple Maps was garbage for Western Australia. Whole suburbs in the wrong place, no knowledge of businesses. Not enough detail and schizophrenic directions. So I left my iPhone well alone. Now I’ve just installed Google maps on my iPad again, so will upgrade my iPhone this weekend.

  2. I use the Apple maps 5 times a day, literally… I have had no issues whatsoever.. I have no idea why so many people disregard it without the credibility to do so.. The ONLY thing I miss is “street view.” Otherwise, I feel it is superior to googles offering, and now that googles has been rereleased for iOS, I’m sure many people will realize that Apple maps is not bad at all afterall.. Just a bunch of undeserved HYPE.

  3. pjs_boston

    Only mindless dopes waited on the Google Maps app to upgrade to iOS 6. These are the same mindless dopes who bought into the bulls**t blogosphere meme that Apple maps is unusable. It’s just not true. Apple Maps is not perfect, but it works quite well for me and for every other iOS user I’ve asked.

    • Nicolas Renaud

      U are wrong in that and calling people that do not align their usage of a device with yours is probably a sign of closemindedness if not worse

      map is maybe the app I use the most on my device
      I use it to find where business meetings are, restaurants appointments, finding my way when driving etc.

      apple cant find companies properly if at all
      instead of restaurants i get parking lots
      all seaches found by google btw

      as for driving direction I tried it once and instead of a museum I got to a point in the middle of the forest 25 miles away…..

      • Dustin Ravizé

        I have to agree with this man, and I will truly give an example of what it seems to be navigated to the incorrect location. I was in Anaheim Hills last weekend and booked a hotel at the Fairfield Inn by Marriott-Anaheim Hill at 201 N Via Cortez, Anaheim, California 92807 you will get hotel listing in a Residential Neighborhood. But, clearly there is no hotel there. Its actually across the street in the back of a shopping center with the address of 201 Via Cortez, Anaheim, California 92807. That is an example of not bad design, or anything. It’s about the amount of time that was put into the application to make it fully workable and accurate.

        Google is all about Beta! and they should be, they are extremely open. But Google Maps was in Beta for years upon years before it became an official headline, and then it took years and more years after that to really put a dent into the foundation. Don’t you all remember Mapquest? How quickly did that fade?

        But I also do believe that Apple Maps will be extremely successful someday if Apple chooses to be. They know what they are doing, its not as simple as building a calculator app. You have to create a deep and immerse experience that grows as more people use it, because of the people that are using it. Every Social Networking site is like that, and every other thing that requests customer feedback to bigger and better need that. That alone, that means that Google Maps and Apple Maps will never be complete because they are consistently changing and adapting.

        To think that almost everyone used actual paper maps to navigate themselves about 15 years ago is nuts.

  4. Michael W. Perry

    High-tech corporate execs need to get a life. There’s little reason for every major type of application to have a version with their corporate label on it. If a competitor has a good product that runs on your platform, that should be enough.

    It’s good that Apple’s Maps app pushed Google into creating an iOS app with features more like those of its Android app. But in general, Apple’s move into Map apps make little sense. Buying commercial data for such app is only part of the expense, as Apple is discovering. That raw data has to be cleaned up by hand, purging out all the embarrassing errors.

  5. Maybe Apple Maps was a way for Apple to get the Google App with turn-by-turn directions and other improvements they didn’t have in iOS 5. A peculiar, expensive method, to be sure, but one can never guess what Apple is thinking.