Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Apple Says That Its Maps App Is Used Three Times as Often as Google’s on iPhones

Someone in Apple’s PR office1 gave Anick Jesdanun of the Associated Press a bit of information:

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.

I have no doubt many of the built-in location-based features in iOS 9 help more users (re)discover Apple Maps, and I don’t doubt that it has gotten better.

But I have this test that I run every time I hear about an improvement to Maps, and Apple Maps still fails. Here’s the test: I search “wine market” and note the results list. There is a store called “Kensington Wine Market” just a few hundred metres from my apartment, yet the top result in Maps has always been a restaurant in Baltimore, which makes no sense. Unless I’m searching a region, city, or an address, Maps should always prioritize local results. By contrast, Google Maps suggests a search for “wine market calgary” as the top result. Tapping “Search” used to perform flawlessly, but now also zooms to the restaurant in Baltimore.

Your results will vary greatly depending on where you live. In Indonesia, Apple Maps was barren while Google returned plenty of local landmarks and points of interest. Apple seems to have improved their mapping technology in Canada, the U.S., and China, but I’m not sure about the rest of the world.

  1. Or, perhaps, Greg Joswiak — he’s quoted in the article. ↩︎