Following its highly inauspicious launch, which saw heads roll in Cupertino all those years ago, it felt like Apple Maps had blown its chance of being a serious contender to the Google Maps juggernaut right out of the gate.
However, one report suggests the tide may finally be turning and that there are now reasons to pick Apple’s steadily-improving mapping solution over Google’s more than a decade after it arrived on the scene. “People Have Begun to Love Apple’s Most Hated Product,” reads a Wall Street Journal headline on Tuesday. Interesting.
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The article – which does contain a lot of anecdotal stories rather than hard evidence Apple Maps is entering a period of ascendency – suggests iPhone users have been won over by Apple Maps’ clear public transit directions and less cluttered design.
Indeed, one user told the WSJ she was won over by Apple Maps because of how much easier it is to see street names, for example.
“It made me kind of revisit and rethink some of my prior assumptions about it,” Jane Natoli, a self professed Google Maps power user says. “Whatever initial reputational hurdles that Apple Maps faced, I think they’ve jumped over those.”
“Google is showing me restaurants, bars and other things, but I’m not necessarily looking for that.”
Another user, New Yorker Jason Rabinowitz, calls Google Maps public transit layer “sinfully ugly to look at”. He prefers Apple Maps because he believes it offers creative, faster routes, and is more helpful when the subway system goes down.
While people may be finding reasons to use Apple Maps, the report also cites data claiming most US iPhone users have Google Maps installed on their devices, despite Apple Maps coming pre-installed.
So, until that trend is reversed, we have to assume there’s still an overwhelming desire to use Google Maps despite Apple Maps’ improvements. However, Maps is set to get even better in iOS 17 with Apple enabling maps to be downloaded for offline use. Who knows? Maybe one day Android users will be the ones downloading Apple Maps?