Move over Google Maps: Apple claims its app is three times as popular on iPhones
Published 09/12/2015 | 07:46
When Apple ditched Google's mapping service in 2012 to create its own, what emerged was an undisputed disaster. The mapping software introduced in iOS 6 contained a catalogue of errors, missing railway stations, directing drivers across airport runways and ignoring entire towns.
The episode preceded the departure of Apple's software chief Scott Forstall, and prompted an almost unheard-of apology from chief executive Tim Cook. It became the butt of many jokes, and spawned a host of memes. When Google swiftly launched its own Maps app for the iPhone in response, many assumed it would become the de facto choice.
Three years later, though, Apple Maps is resurgent. The company says its mapping service is used three times as much as "its next leading competitor", based on requests to the service, according to the Boston Globe. It handles some 5 billion requests a month.
Apple has invested heavily in maps, purchasing at least half a dozen companies since 2012 and adding new features like public transport routes, putting it in competition with other popular mapping services like Citymapper.
Most importantly, though, its database of places has simply gotten better. The listing for Dublin Airport, for example is at Dublin Airport, not a farm nine miles away.
Of course, Apple Maps is installed by default on iPhones and iPads, and the software has become more heavily integrated within iOS. For example, Siri will give directions in Apple Maps, as will a host of apps from both Apple and third parties.
This skews the battle in Apple's favour, although it is clear that the software has made great strides, and means that it only has to be good enough for users not to go looking for something else.
"We are fast learners and we are fast at fixing things,” Apple's product marketing chief Greg Joswiak told the Boston Globe.
Outside of Apple's ecosystem of course, Google's maps reign supreme. The software is believed to have around one billion users worldwide.