Only 4 percent of iOS 6 users use Maps? Bullshit.

Kevin C. Tofel for GigaOM:

Summary: before iOS 6 1 in 4 people were using Google maps at least once a day. After iOS 6: 1 in 25 using Apple maps and falling.

The data is attributed to a company called Snappli.

I have no doubt that some people are experiencing genuine problems with Maps. I have no doubt that it’s not an optimal solution for people who need, say, public transit maps. But for many of us, Jim and me included, Maps works great and is definitely better than what we had before.

To suggest that it’s useless enough that more than 90 percent of iOS 6 users have stopped using it all together? That goes beyond straining credulity. That’s straight into the realm of absolute bullshit.

  • Guest

    Peter – Apple maps might be a close equal to Google maps in the USA, but Apple sells a significant number of iOS devices outside the US. In the UK the Apple maps errors have MAJOR issues.

    • Putting on my tin foil hat. There is a desperate attempt to knife the baby before it matures. Way too many “interested” parties to let Apple succeed in this area.

    • Edddeduck

      As a UK poster Maps works fine for me*. Has some disadvantages but no train smash either.

      *Your experience may vary depending on location.

    • Kay

      As another UK user I have to say the mapping is absoloutly fine in the three counties I’ve used it in and central London.

      The real issue is that the POI’s are weak.

  • Dr.No

    In other words, they are saying that out of the 100 million that upgraded to IOS 6, only 4 millon are using the new maps but then Apple said 500 millon queries have been processed by the new maps. Who are you going to believe.

  • Henning Störk

    Of course, I’m in no way 90 % of users and I doubt those numbers strongly too (and you specifically mentioned public transit users in the post), but for what it’s worth: I live in Zurich, Switzerland and I used Google Maps multiple times every day on iOS 5.1.1, especially it’s public transportation routing functionality.

    Since iOS 6, I used Apple Maps about ten times, only to realize I can not only NOT see public transportation routes in it – I can’t even see where the next bus stop/train station is located, because those are simply not in the map data. I’m not bashing Apple for this, it will get better over time, but here’s one of those users just stopping maps usage on their iPhone alltogether.

    • I think Google have been sued in the past for publishing information from 3rd party owners. I think Apple were trying to get around this by building an API that allowed the 3rd parties themselves generate and include the data.

      • Henning Störk

        That might be true for timetable data (I doubt it in case of Zurich’s transportation company though) but is no explanation for the missing bus stops in the maps. That’s what’s really annoying. I can live with opening other apps to have a route generated, but not being shown where to head for the departure station renders that information just useless so far.

  • Here’s how you can tell it’s utter bullshit. I would bet cash money that more people have used Maps since iOS 6 was released if only to verify for themselves what the hyperbolic twats in the media have been yammering about.

    • Count me in. I’ve searched for the supposed missing towns and unavailable landmarks when I run across them to confirm, as I expected, that many of these are already being fixed, if indeed they were ever real problems.

      But we will always have the hyperbolic histrionics contained in these articles, as the Internet doesn’t forget. Just like we can still look up articles decrying the lack of a floppy on the iMac.

    • Not to mention that one doesn’t just use maps in the maps app, but also in a number of other applications that leverage map data.

      I call BS, too.

  • “But for many of us, Jim and me included, Maps works great and is definitely better than what we had before.”

    Me, too. I wouldn’t go back.

  • kvanh

    Hmmm, this is based on Snappli data which is an app that reconfigures your phone to route data to snappli’s servers so they can compress it for you before sending it the phone.

    1) does snappli work with iOS 6 Apple Maps correctly? In other words if Apple Map data causes Snappli to crash the phone maybe Snappli users are stopping using maps so as to avoid crashing their phone (note that of the 3 reviews shown for the current version 1 says it crashes an iPhone 4s, another says it crashes an iPhone 5.)

    2) is there a typo problem? GigaOm says “◦However, over the next 5 days that drops down to 4%”. Possible that the “to” is wrong and it should be “◦However, over the next 5 days that drops down by 4%”

    • Peter Cohen

      “is there a typo problem?”

      No. Check Snappli’s blog. They’re the ones spouting the 1 in 25 number. That’s four percent.

  • kvanh

    that’s actually in the article. Snappli says usage immediately after iOS 6 was released increased from 25% using Maps (with google data) to 35% using Maps (with Apple data) but that 5 days after that it had dropped to 4% of users using Maps.

    No way the drop was that big that fast.

    • MacsenMcBain

      Hmm… Did the 5-day period include or end on Yom Kippur? Maybe the Snappli users were merely being observant… (;^)

    • Markinasia

      Absolutely it was that big that fast. I went from using it many times a day to using it once a week to see if they have improved it.

  • Everyone’s mileage will vary but I used maps to get from Northern New Jersey to Binghamton, NY and it worked great. No problems, no missing cities, no warped bridges. Again, this is just my experience and I only used the turn-by-turn directions.

    • Peter Cohen

      What Jeff isn’t telling you is that he went to Binghamton via Pittsburgh, PA.

  • Jtflo5

    Here’s what the article stated, “By looking at the following data from 5,000 Snappli users on iOS…” that’s only 0.005% of 100 million+ potential iOS users.

  • I think this whole exercise has instructive, in that that it appears that many so called tech sites believe Apple has put a map of the entire fucking world on the phone, and that a recall or wholesale dumping of Maps is required to fix these issues, as opposed to search engine tuning and data updates on the back end servers.

  • bobrk

    Guess what I used Maps for most of the time. Transit instructions. Needless to say, iOS 6 doesn’t work at all for this. As far as turn-by-turn is concerned, I see no reason to switch from my cheap 3 party solution.

  • Uhm – their app is not available in the German appstore, the French one also doesn’t feature the app.

    Seems like it’s only available in the USA, Canada and Great Britain.

    Which are the countries in which iOS 6 maps is quite fine.

    I doubt, that a lack of quality would be the reason that Snappli has detected such a decrease in map usage, because their service is only available in countries in which iOS 6 maps are not that much behind the iOS 5 maps.

    Countries with real problems, like Germany, where most satellite images are of a lower quality than the Google ones and some are truly horrible, are not even using the Snappli-service.

    So if countries with higher quality maps are said to show a decrease in usage by 90%, what about the countries with real problems? 99% decrease?

    Doubt it!

    • Darius

      My folks lived under a cloud for all of six years according to Google’s data. The resolution of the Google maps in my home town (not big, but a major centre for the farming community) is still a pixelated mess where you can hardly pick up the roads, let alone any other POIs.

  • Ninja_mouse

    You know what? All these pundits trying to give iOS the beat down and especially over maps; it’s wearing thin already! Have people forgotten that the iPhone is after all a fucking telephone? The fact fact that Android phones and the iPhone have this nifty mapping function, is just cake frosting. Both companies offerings will get much better over time. So right now people need to stop talking shit and move right along.

  • mgseeley

    I used Google maps daily pre-iOS 6 and now trying to use Apple’s Maps. I am on a iPhone 4. I live and commute mainly in the New England states.

    My two biggest issues with Apple’s maps are the lack of exit numbers listed on the maps and the display of traffic conditions. I relied on both of these features daily. The exit numbers don’t display on Apple’s Maps and I have only seen traffic info displayed once since since upgrading. Perhaps Apple’s maps only highlight bad traffic conditions. Google Maps showed green when traffic was moving along. This was reassuring to see at a glance.

  • WhitneyEsq

    I live in a rural area that’s a good bit of a drive from big metro areas that have 3D Flyover data (and some big markets that still don’t), or even public transit. There’s a lot of America that lives in places like this.

    I’ve already been using the new Maps App to get around on the road where I spend a great deal of my time. I haven’t had a single issue, and find the turn-by-turn to work and look better than the Garmin USA app I now wish I hadn’t spend a App Store gift card on. Hands down it works better than the original App, and the data is, in my opinion (and in my use case), substantively better than Googles data.

    Jim, let your birdies in Cupertino know that I’m a satisfied customer – as usual.

  • Mother Hydra

    More straining at the stool to be sure. Don’t blow a heart valve trying to be credible guys- the teensy sample size is telling…

  • OzzieDan

    Well I definetlly was a user before iOS 6. Now I very rarely use it, the town on Australia I’m in has several major roads missing and even the major river that runs throught the centre of the city is missing.

    Every time I go to find something I could search easily for in the old maps I can’t find it. If I make one mistake in the spelling it just says it doesn’t exist, or even if I didn’t spell it wrong it says it can’t find it. So then I go to the Internet to search for the address, put that into maps and voila, when I go to the address on the map it says the name of the business I was searching for on the map but it couldn’t find.

    I do hope they fix thi very soon.

  • Jeff

    There’s more I like about the new Maps app than I dislike about it. I have to be more precise. And in 11 days, there’s only one point of interest the new Maps app didn’t find for me. One.

  • pawhite524

    If Snappli’s data is correct there are more reasons to explain a short-term drop off. The “furor” over this has the effect of looking at a car crash as one drives by, curiosity. I have never used Google Maps for anything but my enjoyment at looking at maps. I have never relied on it for directions.

    I tend to wait 3 to 6 months before downloading any new software “so the bugs are worked out so have not downloaded iOS 6. When i do I will probably check out the Maps app and then probably never use it again or perhaps when perhaps rarely.

    I am old school and have a built in dislike for depending or needing tech to manage my life. In this way and on a site like this I am in a distinct minority and probably subject to ridicule. I am no Luddite nor a full tilt techie. I love electric guitar but prefer acoustic, a la Clapton’s Unplugged album despite still getting high on Cream, Derek and the Dominos, etc.

    Just saying, more than one explanation for anyone’s data.

  • grumpybasterd

    I rather like the new maps. Much less clutter than Google’s, and in more rural areas seems exponentially more accurate and up-to-date.

  • I buy it, to some degree. Matches my personal experience.

    Living in NYC, I used to live off of the iPhone’s Maps app based on Google Maps. It was the impetus for me to get the original iPhone 5 years ago. Makes navigating this city dead easy.

    Since I got the iPhone 5, I barely touch it. I rely on third party transit apps now. I can’t remember the last time Apple pooped the bed like this. Maybe Mobile Me. Or when they re-invented iMovie for iLife 08. Or the most recent version of Final Cut.

    Anyway, I’d posit that iPhone usage is extremely high in metro areas. And that metro users most likely used the Maps app much more frequently than in regions where you just to your usual places. So this change in app functionality is impacting those users the most, who are doing something about it: not using Apple’s new Maps app.

  • adioboom

    A test for you.

    Visit some locations in Maps. Turn off your wifi and cellular data Visit those locations again in Maps.

    It still works.

    Basically it seems to cache it (in significantly large blocks) on first visit and since it’s vector info (why it scales morely smoothly) you don’t get a reload. Unless you go to new areas (which without data turned on just remain as grey hatching)

  • Markinasia

    I love apple and have been a fiercely loyal advocate for MANY years but apple maps is absofuckinglutely useless and to date after about 50 attempts I have NEVER found my destination unless I have been there previously and bookmarked it myself.

  • Markinasia

    Oh and I’ve used it in the philippines, Thailand and Cambodia, and Japan. Entire towns and villages are not named or not even shown, the “always show English Names” function doesn’t work, most times the street names etc are written in local script which, sadly I can’t read. That said, the maps are clearer and less cluttered than googles maps but that means nothing if I can’t find or get to where i want to go

    • Farang

      Exactly. Can’t find a hotel in Chiang Mai because maps has no English. No result ound for the centrally located hotel that I’m sitting in.

  • Farang

    I live in Thailand. It’s near useless here and without a google maps app I’ve gone back to my garmin. If you don’t read Thai script, you can’t use it do much outside of BKK. On the other hand, if you can’t use it, you don’t get infuriated by the bad data.