Crying dire wolf: The state of Apple Maps

macalope
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Apple Maps is back in the news and you know what that means. (Yes, you do, Melba. Look inside yourself. You’ve always known.) It means it’s another excuse to complain about it being “not as good as” Google Maps.

Writing for The Inquirer, Roland Moore-Colyer says “Apple is reworking Maps to be less utterly dire.”

It’s true, it is the direst of mapping applications. It’s positively Fawcettian. Utterly Earhartian. A total cluster Scott.

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Apple Maps is set to get a complete overhaul from the ground up to attempt to attract people away from Google Maps.

Boy, you’d get the idea that more people use Google Maps on iOS than Apple Maps. Is that true? Well… no.

“Apple Maps, once a laughingstock, now dominates iPhones.”

Apple says its mapping service is now used more than three times as often as its next leading competitor…

And that was three years ago. Apple Maps has only gotten better in the intervening period so it’s probably a higher multiplier than that now.

When Apple Maps launched back in 2012 as part of iOS 6, it couldn't even be described as a flawed masterpiece; it was so royally borked with missing locations and other such flaws that when Google Maps was released back on iOS, millions upon millions of Apple loons downloaded the app.

[turns to camera, raises eyebrow]

Setting aside the pejorative, there is no support provided for Moore-Coyler’s assertion that “millions upon millions” of people eschewed Apple Maps for the warm, privacy-sucking embrace of Google Maps. Maybe it was in the millions, but when Apple had sold about 450 million iPhones by the time Google released Google Maps for iOS in December of 2012, a little more precision is required to know if it’s a meaningful percentage.

Over the subsequent years, Apple did manage to improve Maps but it's still considered sub-par when compared to other mapping services, like the aforementioned efforts by Google and the likes of Waze.

It may be “considered” to be that, but is that true? Certainly Arthur Grabowski’s results don’t portray Waze particularly well. Basically, he found that if you want to be lied to and told you’ll get to your destination faster when you really won’t, use Waze. Google’s data is considered the best and that certainly may be true, but data is just one reason to use a mapping app.

Writing for 9to5Mac, Bradley Chambers came up with “Five reasons to prefer Apple Maps over Google Maps.” The first is privacy, which is actually one of the big reasons Apple dumped Google as its Maps data provider back in 2012. In all discussions of the relative merits of Google and Apple services, however, privacy should not be considered. This is because of one very simply fact that you Apple loons haven’t thought of, and that is this: bingo bananatown with jelly on it.

There. Now we’ve settled that. Let us never speak of it again.

Maps did not start out great, but it’s gotten very good since. Is it the best right now? The Macalope’s not going to pass judgement on that, because some people will value certain features over others. But he will note that you have to actually consider its advantages to figure which is the best for you, instead of just sweeping them under the rug.

  
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