Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) never had much success in the field of mapping technology but it appears that the story has changed. When the firm unveiled its Apple Maps in 2012 it was at the center of many jokes in the tech world. The mapping app was riddled with bugs and was feature poor to boot. The map “killed” some towns and businesses, it “renamed” famous landmarks with wrong names, and it gave critics more than enough fodder to fire at.
Many people who bought iPhones soon found out that they were better off using Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google Maps than Apple Maps. In fact, it didn’t take long for Google Maps to mark out a strong lead over Apple. Yet, Tim Cook has been trying hard to catch up with Google in the last three years. The firm has revamped its Map service and it has acquired a number of startups in the mapping space. A news report by AP suggests that Apple Maps has almost kicked out Google Maps from iPhones.
Apple reclaims ground from Google Maps
Apple says its mapping service is now used three times more than Google Maps on iPhones and iPads. The stats shows more than 5 billion map-related requests per week favor Apple Maps at the expense of Google Maps. Alex Mackenzie-Torres, a former Google Maps manager, says of the Apple Map, “They really did a great job in a short amount of time… Apple has something that few companies have — simplicity in design mixed with high doses of pragmatism and practicality.”
In the last three years, Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) product Google Maps has beaten Apple Maps hands down on practically all fronts. PrivCo analyst Chris Pisarsk notes that Apple “has been playing catch up ever since… This has resulted in a more urgent and aggressive M&A strategy.” The success of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the mapping space can be traced to the heavy spending in R&D and in strategic acquisitions. Since, 2009 Apple has bought about 12 startups in area.
Apple has added a number of features that has given it map an edge over Google Maps. For instance, it has added business listings, traffic, and transit info. The firm has also made it easier for third-party apps such as Yelp and Starbucks apps to integrate Apple Maps. Greg Joswiak, VP of Product Marketing at Apple says, “We are fast learners and we are fast at fixing things… “We learned the maps business incredibly fast.”
Apple Maps to become smarter
Late last month, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) revealed that it has been granted a patent on a public transit app that provides an ETA of public transport. The transit patent is one of the 31 patents that the firm recently secured. Apple has made long strides to catch up with Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) —the transit feature that it debuts in the iOS 9 trails the turn-by-turn transit directions that Google has earlier unveiled in its maps.
The firm has not relented on improving its maps, AP says, “Ultimately, Apple Maps doesn’t need to be the best. It just needs to be good enough that its users won’t look for something else”.