Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Apple Maps Used Three Times as Often

Anick Jesdanun (via Nick Heer):

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 US, though comScore measures how many people use a service in a given month rather than how often.

Or, we could look at this as 1 in 4 iOS users going to the trouble to download a third-party app and choosing to use it regularly. You have to be motivated to do this because Apple doesn’t let you change the default maps app that Phone, Calendar, Mail, and Siri take you to. And even if you don’t intend to use Apple’s mapping service, you are voting for it every time you view a calendar item or Find My Friends.

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Both Apple Maps and Google Maps have pretty huge flaws. Neither really works for driving in rural areas & looking for roads without a final address for instance. Both give bad directions at about the same rate. Google is better for biking and some city mass transit. Google also does better business lookup still. Yet Google's UI seems to get worse everytime I use it. And Apple seems to be doing little innovation in terms of practical features we want for the maps.

@Clark Yes, unfortunately my experience has been that Google’s UI is getting worse and Apple’s data is not getting much better.

I find Apple's data is getting better. It's just not getting better fast enough. After two years you'd think they'd at least get people to update business addresses.

Apple's plane/satellite photos are getting better and better than Google's in some region.

But Apple's servers and UX are still worse than Google's when it comes to just navigating in the map:

- The B&W grid is still too often visible (even on an iPad Pro using an Apple Store WiFi connection).
- AFAIK, it's still not possible to just get a plain 2D rendering of regions supported by FlyOver.
- On a Mac, the modifier keys used to zoom, translate, rotate are really really strange.

On a Mac, Google Earth is still the best solution but, damn, this cross platform is so bad and so crashy.

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