Apple Maps is dominating Google in the U.K.

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When Apple Maps disastrously launched in 2012 even the most faithful of Apple fanboys thought it’d never be competitive against the obviously superior Google Maps. But just two years after it announced its own mapping platform, Apple is now dominating Google in mapping traffic on 4G, at least on one U.K. carrier.

EE, the U.K. mobile network operator that also owns Orange and T-Mobile, released a new report on its 4G mobile networks today that shows Apple Maps is quickly outpacing Google Maps on mobile, despite only beginning to capture marketshare at the end of 2012.

“Traffic on the new Apple Maps now represents 70% of mapping traffic on the 4G network, from 60% in the second half of 2013, taking market share from Google maps, which is down 7ppts. This difference is even more marked over 3G where Apple Maps is up 19ppts and Google Maps is down 15ppts.”

Obviously, EE’s report is only for one carrier and fails to give a glimpse of the global maps battle, but it is interesting that Apple Maps usage is already so high, even on the largest U.K. carrier that was the first to roll out 4G for iPhone and Android handsets.

Apple’s controversial decision to purge iOS of Google Maps with the release of iOS 6 received its fair share of criticism, but Apple has made a steady push to make its mapping platform competitive with a number of new features along with updating its data everyday. iOS 8 is also making it easier for users to switch from Apple Maps to Google Maps or other services to get transit directions on other information.

What do you think of the Apple Maps? Is it finally a viable Google Maps alternative, or are iOS users too lazy to switch to other map apps? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

  • Kourosh

    I love Apple Maps. I think it’s a good product. But my default map application is Waze because of its live traffic, road hazard and police alerts. Waze is ugly as sin, though. If Apple incorporated Waze-like social traffic reporting features I would switch and become a permanent user in an instant.

    • Windlasher

      I agree. I stuck with it and have even submitted some corrections which were always changed within a day or two. It has only let me down once but then again so has google maps on occasion.

    • PMB01

      There isn’t any manual reporting feature, but Apple Maps does use your phone’s data to help aggregate its live traffic data. I manual reporting feature would be nice. I love using Apple Maps!

  • [anonymous]

    I find Apple Maps to be greatly on par with Google Maps, especially because they added 3D flyover support to my hometown months before Google did (although Nokia Maps were actually the first at this). The one true weakness I see in Apple’s Maps is actually a bit controversial for Google as well. While Google has Google Map Maker, all Apple has is the ability to drop a pin and report a problem in text. Apple needs an open source map-maker like Google in order to 100% win me over. Vector graphics are nice, but getting to redraw a faulty street just makes you feel powerful.

    UPDATE: I forgot to even mention OpenStreetMap. Apple actually acquired exactly what I feel they needed over a year ago. The problem is that when I opened up OpenStreetMap, their maps already contain all the corrections I wanted add myself. So really if Apple can literally (and legally) copy from a map maker they acquired, maybe there would be some order in the universe.

  • aaronsherman

    This seems highly suspect to me. I’d be much more inclined to believe this statistic if I knew what classes of access are being measured.

    For example, if a visit to Apple Maps tends to require 20x the number of bytes of traffic and they’re measuring bytes, then this isn’t terribly interesting. The same goes for connections if Google is doing lots of connection bundling and Apple isn’t.

    Similarly, this might be lots of 3rd party software and hardware that uses Apple Maps for everything from navigation to urban planning.

    • Windlasher

      Sometimes you have to just let things be.

    • http://www.MyTabletLife.com Chris Garcia

      Exactly.. Maybe the headline should be.. “Apple Maps proves to be a DATA HOG!!” Uses 150% more data then Google Maps for the same usage.,

    • IRIE4IPIEIR

      You are correct, there is NO WAY Apple maps is used more than Google maps. If people are using Apple maps instead of Google, I’m very glad when it leads you to the middle of nowhere.

      • PMB01

        Good thing Apple Maps is actually as good as Google Maps. I use it all the time without any problems. Google Maps, on the other hand, has sent me the wrong way several times.

  • RyanTV

    I live in NYC and apple maps are useless here. I use Google Maps 100% of the time.

  • YodaMac

    I use Apple Maps in Denver, CO all the time with no problems. I love all the features it has and have no complaints. Once it became the default maps app, I just stopped using Google. I am not one of those users who wants to have 3 mail apps, 5 calendar apps and 4 maps apps on my iPhone. I use the default ones and they do what I need. Bye google.

  • damon

    Apple Maps got infinitely better and is perfectly usable nowadays. I use it as the default on my phone now. The ONLY issue I ever have with it is that it’s hard to see traffic problems (I live in a large city) because of the red dot pattern Apple uses. I would really like them to adopt the same sort of overlay (Green/yellow/red) that Google Maps uses. But that’s just a quibble; the rest of the time Apple Maps functions just fine.

  • AAPL_@_$101_Is_A_Done_Deal_:)

    No street view or indication of bicycle paths. I’ll have to pass on Apple Maps. I see the Microsoft Bing and Google Map mapping vehicles all the time in NYC. Why can’t Apple get themselves some street view vehicles and start competing against the big boys. Apple’s got all that money so they could also afford to buy satellite photos from the companies supported by the latest high-resolution mapping satellites. I think Apple could easily do a lot better if they don’t cut corners.

    • PMB01

      I wish you had a clue what you were talking about. Sadly, you don’t :(

  • Gregg_Thurman

    I am not a power “Map” user. That said, using Apple maps hasn’t failed me for some tome. The thing I like most about Apple Maps is how fast it loads compared to Google Maps. This may be unfair to Google as its been so long since I’ve used it I don’t know if Google has improved the load speed.

  • Fred Cintra

    Apple Maps still has a long way tô catch Google Maps outside US/EU, here in Brazil Apple Maps has almost no POI and lacks turn-by-turn navigation, it’s pretty unusable.

  • Giacomo Carlomagno

    I have the same opinion as aaronsherman, this seems very suspect to me.
    If they are measuring data transfer in bytes, that means apple maps uses much more bandwidth than google maps, that means completely the opposite of what is been reported. I use 3 mobile in the UK and i never use apple maps, i use Waze and google maps.
    By the way, I dont know anybody that has an iphone and uses apple maps daily.

    I am very inclined to believe this must include other services in the mobile phone, for example, if most of the localization services uses somehow the apple maps network, that would explain it easily. Apple maps is rubish anyway, and i will always use Waze or Google Maps instead.

    • PMB01

      Nah, Apple Maps is actually on par with Google.

  • slug214

    I found that with Google Maps my iPhone 5S gets very hot, but that never happens with Apple Maps. I agree with damon that the traffic is a lot easier to see with G Maps, so I’ll use that to check the traffic first, then use Apple Maps to navigate. Hasn’t really let me down.

  • jbelkin

    That’s another reason that analysts don’t actually understand tech. They actually thought this was an issue but Apple wins, When Google refused to update their maps with SIRI, it meant Google was giving up hundreds of millions as Apple no longer had to pay them for MAP searches – basically Google map searches on IOS went from nearly 100% to about 20% now. And instead of Google places, they all go to YELP if its a business. Once again, Google loses in annoying Apple.

  • aaloo

    Apple maps works amazing in Ontario. Haven’t touched google maps since they got booted off. Overall, better for iphone customers because google has done so much more since they got kicked out as default app to make their maps app on iphone great.

  • teemulehtinen

    Doesn’t that just mean that it is not a very good service to the customer since (s)he has to keep downloading mapping data all the time instead of being able to download the map in part (Google) or whole (Here) in advance over wifi?

  • Aesthetickz

    How about street view? I find that feature very handy to visualize where you need to go. No Apple Maps doesn’t do it for me (in The Netherlands).

  • thatboy

    I’ve used Apple maps in London and New York City. I think they’re good for use in big cities. However at home when browsing locations, and whenever I need to see the street view, I go for Google maps, as bad as their new interface may be…

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Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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