Report: Apple Maps usage down to four percent

Before iOS 6, 25 percent were using Google Maps daily

Utilization of Apple's iOS 6 Maps app appears to have plummeted in the days since its release. According to one study from data management company Snappli, only four percent of users running iOS 6 are still using Apple Maps, a dramatic drop from just a week ago, when the app debuted. Snappli's figures also show that Apple Maps usage is far below the levels the company saw when Google's Maps app was the standard on iOS.

Snappli helps users stay within their limits by compressing data and video. To derive its maps figures, the company looked at data usage among its 5,000 users in the days since iOS 6 was released. The company found that 64 percent of its users in the US and UK had migrated to iOS 6.

Prior to the release of iOS 6 25 percent of Snappli users were viewing Google Maps at least once a day. Shortly after the release of iOS 6, 35 percent of Snappli users on that operating system were using Apple Maps. Now, though, that figure has dropped to four percent.

The degree to which one can extrapolate Snappli's figures to the wider iOS 6 user base is uncertain. The app serves a particular subset of users, and those users may well be particularly disinclined to use iOS 6 Maps. The study does, though, add a numerical element to the ongoing fiasco surrounding the iPhone maker's decision to switch away from Google's maps in favor of its own solution.

18 Comments
  1. Avatar
    blahblahbber Banned Joined: Feb 01, 2005

    Guess Google punished crApple... I like it.

  2. Avatar
    besson3c Clinically Insane Joined: Mar 03, 2001

    It sucks that these sort of partnerships often don't work well, it amounts for a lot of wheel reinvention and competing standards.

  3. Avatar
    blahblahbber Banned Joined: Feb 01, 2005

    Originally Posted by besson3cView Post

    It sucks that these sort of partnerships often don't work well, it amounts for a lot of wheel reinvention and competing standards.

    Prevents monopolies too... makes it even better.

  4. Avatar
    sixmemos Fresh-Faced Recruit Joined: Sep 06, 2006

    This might be an interesting counter-interpretation of the same data.

    It explains that the 4% figure represents the # of people who are DOWNLOADING DATA from Apple Maps on day 5 after iOS6 was released, and that this may be very different from the # of people who are spending time USING Apple Maps. Since one of the huge advantages of Apple Maps is that it is much more efficient with representing and caching data, such that a one-time download of data the first time you use it may cover your needs for quite a while until you move to a different area. Where by different area, we're talking practically a different country (see below). In contrast, every time you open Google Maps in iOS5, it has to reload data.

    The key difference is that Google Maps on iOS 5, because it uses raster graphics, needs repeated downloads. You'll see this if you load a page on maps.google.com in iOS 5, then turn the phone to Airplane mode - so the Wi-Fi and data connections are off - and then try to scroll off the page. You'll hit a blank spot because there isn't any data.

    By contrast, the vector graphics used in Apple Maps don't require extra downloads. You can confirm this by loading a page (choose your own location, for simplicity), and then turning the data connections off. Now try scrolling across the page: it will load. You'll be able to see detail in your surrounding area. You'll be able to zoom in and out. If you're in a car or train, you should find that you can track your travel - even plan your route, to some extent - with zero extra data. The whole of the UK is encapsulated in less than 200MB, according to data from CoPilot.

    That was certainly my experience earlier this week in Korea, where on a visit to Samsung I had an iPhone running iOS 6 which had no data contract. One evening I looked at the overview of North and South Korea (it turns out Apple's Maps offer more detail than Google does for North Korea; the latter's is just a white blank). The next day, with zero data coverage, we were taken on a coach trip to a Samsung production facility.

    The phone tracked our entire journey, with street-level data including the names of shops, all the way. And all the way back. And then, later, out to the airport. All that, without getting a single extra drop of data.

    So while there's absolutely no reason to doubt that Snappli is correct in what it shows about the amount of data being downloaded by iOS 6 users, it might be worth pondering whether that's actually representative of time spent on maps. That's likely to stay much the same.

  5. Avatar
    besson3c Clinically Insane Joined: Mar 03, 2001

    Originally Posted by blahblahbberView Post



    Prevents monopolies too... makes it even better.


    If you feel this way it seems odd that you would be rooting for Apple to fail given that Google is the much bigger player in the map arena. Then again, I've yet to make sense of what you are trying to express here on MacNN.

    It's also not this simple. Google Maps includes an open API. As Spheric Harlot pointed out, there are some license restrictions for turn-by-turn app usage, but by creating an open API that others can use freely, while Google will hold the balance of power as far as owning and controlling this data, this also allows competition in others creating their own competing front ends. This is much different than a completely closed system like Apple's.

    I can't help thinking that sooner or later Apple is going to want to learn how to best open up their web services like Google has done so they can be in regular dialog with third party developers. They have invited end-users to report problems with the maps, but they are going to have to weed out all of the vague, incorrect, and incomprehensible reports from the good ones. Plus, by inviting no third party developer usage they'll always force others to compete with them, which will produce mixed results.

    I think Apple has not opened up their web services in the past perhaps because they haven't figured out how to make consistently good with the open source community, but maybe it's time they really focused on this. We'd be able to do all sorts of cool things with an open iCloud, an open maps service, and open access to the iTunes store. By open I don't necessarily mean anything more than simply read-only access, if Apple wanted to they could start with cookie-cutter style plugins, but this seems like one time when their walled garden approach will not serve them well.

  6. Avatar
    Mr. Strat Dedicated MacNNer Joined: Jan 23, 2002

    OK - usage is down. So what?

  7. Avatar
    ctt61 Fresh-Faced Recruit Joined: Jun 21, 2005

    love the maps and turn by turn instructions
    slight different to use

  8. Avatar
    wrenchy Forum Regular Joined: Nov 03, 2009

    Originally Posted by sixmemosView Post

    The key difference is that Google Maps on iOS 5, because it uses raster graphics, needs repeated downloads.



    Google has been using vector graphics since Google Maps 5.0 for Android, almost two years ago. Nice try.
    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/under-hood-of-google-maps-50-for.html

  9. Avatar
    sixmemos Fresh-Faced Recruit Joined: Sep 06, 2006

    Originally Posted by wrenchyView Post



    [QUOTE=sixmemos;4193686]The key difference is that Google Maps on iOS 5, because it uses raster graphics, needs repeated downloads.



    Google has been using raster graphics since Google Maps 5.0 for Android, almost two years ago. Nice try.
    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/under-hood-of-google-maps-50-for.html[/quote]

    I'm sorry that reading comprehension is so difficult. Read my post again (hint: focus on the sentence that you quoted). I was referring to the Google Maps implementation IN iOS 5, not for Android. Try again.

    p.s. I know, I know, you're all excited, you came for the Android vs. iOS show. Save it for someplace else (yawn). I'm referring to how many people are using Apple's new Maps app.

  10. Avatar
    wrenchy Forum Regular Joined: Nov 03, 2009

    Originally Posted by sixmemosView Post


    I was referring to the Google Maps implementation IN iOS 5, not for Android.



    Vector will come eventually, if Google ever decides to release a native iOS app for Maps. But really, why should they??
    It's a good thing Google leads the way for mobile mapping technology. Apple will be playing catch-up for many many years to come.

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