Charles Arthur reports on The Guardian how Google maps lost to Apple maps when everyone thought it had won.
The break with the iPhone came when Apple became frustrated in late 2009 by Google’s refusal to provide turn-by-turn navigation for maps on the iPhone – a feature which was available on Google’s own Android, and which is hugely useful for car drivers. “They broke their promise,” one Apple executive told the Guardian. Google also wanted to collect more data from Apple users via maps, such as through its Latitude product, and held off offering vector graphics (which store data more efficiently, and can work offline). That sparked Apple’s decision to develop its own maps offering, licensing data from TomTom and other providers.
According to ComScore, in September 2012 – just ahead of the introduction of Apple Maps – there were a total of 81.1m users of Google Maps, out of a total of 103.6m iPhones and Android phones users.
Latest figures from ComScore, published for September 2013, say that the total number of iPhones and Android phones in the US has grown to 136.7m, the number who used the Google Maps app has kept dropping – down to 58.8m – while the number of Apple Maps users stands at 35m out of a total iPhone population of 60.1m.
It also noted that iOS users tended to use maps more often – 9.7m used it once a day, against 7.2m for Android. In addition, iPhone users spent longer on maps than Android users – 75.5 minutes per month, against 56.2 minutes for Android.