Apple bungled the launch of Maps in iOS 6 so badly that the company’s CEO, Tim Cook, felt the need to publicly apologize. Cook admitted that Maps “fell short,” and said Apple was committed to righting such an embarrassing wrong. Now, a year removed from melted buildings and terrible directions, it appears Apple’s platform is doing much, much better. In fact, new data reveals the introduction of Maps resulted in a huge decline in Google Maps usage, to the tune of 23 million mobile users in the U.S.
According to comScore, Google Maps was at its peak in September 2012, with roughly 81 million iPhone users actively taking advantage of the search giant’s technology. But once iOS 6 was introduced, Maps saw an incredible fall, though it’s worth noting you couldn’t get a proper Google Maps app on iOS until a few months later, when a standalone application was released with turn-by-turn directions and everything.
During a period ending September 2013, a total of 35 million iPhone owners in the U.S. used Apple Maps, while 58.7 million used Google Maps between iPhone and Android devices—The Guardian estimates about 6 million used Google Maps on the iPhone. Having started so poorly last year, those are some pretty healthy usage statistics for Apple, and show the furor around its Maps PR nightmare may have been a little overblown.
The whole issue, as far as we can tell, stemmed from Google’s refusal to include turn-by-turn navigation in its app on iOS. Once Apple dropped Google’s platform and replaced it with its own, the search giant rushed to release a more robust standalone experience last December—today it’s arguably the best navigation app around. However, with Apple Maps now the stock application on millions of new and old iOS devices across the U.S., it appears Google’s initial withholding may have backfired. ComScore says its findings only reflect U.S. statistics, but data around the globe is estimated to be the same.