29 thoughts on “What Do Consumers Think of the iPhone Map App?”

  1. Mike, as you said the sample is way too small to draw any final conclusions from the results. However, I wanted to point out to something that you didn’t mention – the survey covers only the United States and the whole other world has been left out. If we trust this a little outdated stats this is just about a third of the user base of any iOS device. Apple has very obviously focused on this market, though (just look at who their map data partners are and what data they cater), so it’s to be assumed that the app will be much, MUCH more useful in the US than anywhere else around the world. If you look at this site: The Amazing iOS 6 Maps, you will see that the majority of the examples that contain very serious mistakes (such as whole regions, together with their basic geography being completely unmapped) are for places outside the US, some of which are in very highly populated and “tech-savvy” locales where the user base is potentially very significant. In Singapore, for instance, where the penetration of iPhone is reportedly the highest in the world, the app is practically unusable. There are whole neighborhoods that cannot be discovered, living areas are scarcely mapped, etc. In many of the countries around the world the best mapping app has always been Google Maps and there are usually not even close substitutes. How does Apple cater to these users with iOS6 and Apple Maps? Have they even made any good effort to cater to them?

  2. @Nyagoslav

    According to Google survey the sample size was big enough to be statistically significant at the top level. Only when looking at the second level results (age, sex, geography etc) is the sample too small to have any confidence in the results. Although it likely points directionally at things that need to be explored.

    But yes it does only address the US population as to their satisfaction level. My guess is that in Europe where TeleAtlas has a strong presence and in China, where there are no other good mobile Maps, you would find similar or even higher satisfaction levels.

    Remember though this survey is looking at consumer satisfaction NOT Map quality. I took this approach not to vindicate an immature product but to point out that most pundits view the world through a very narrow lens.

    Even in places like Singapore where the quality, as you note stinks, I think you would find that most users would not want to give up their iPhone because the Map is bad. But I leave that survey to you. :)

  3. I couldn’t understand all the ‘loud’ complaining about the new map either. I am in Canada (in Mexico for the winter) and I find the map (iPhone 4 iOS6) app just fine. I don’t think it’s as good as the Google version in some ways… but it’s not the end of the world. I can always d/l the google app if I want to use it instead.

  4. Interesting survey and I’m not surprised at all by the results. I have a hard time believing someone would not buy a phone because of one specific app (albeit a fairly important app). iPhone users can still access Google Maps via the Internet. Furthermore, you don’t think Google is working hard to get an app out? My guess is we’ll see a Google Map app within 6-9 months.

    Travis Van Slooten

  5. @Andy
    Well the app does suck some but its value to users as Travis and the survey points out does not raise to the level of armageddon that the hyperbole indicated. Its not as good as it should be but its better than it could have been. Mapping is hard and Apple, I think, knows this. As such they have their hands full and need to make significant strides if they want to harvest all the benefits of controlling the pre installed Map app.

    @Travis
    If Google takes that long to produce a product they will have lost one of the biggest opportunities ever handed to them.

    The Google Maps via the internet is annoyingly bad. While the data is good, it is flakey and uncooperative and not a viable second choice unless you are willing to put up with a terrible experience. Mapquest on the other hand has offered a decent, free turn by turn iPhone mapping product for several years. It is also amazing to me that they are not making more noise about their product.

  6. If there were Apple maps long ago, that’s exactly how Columbus would discover America. He thought he would be in India! :P

    As much as I love Apple, I’ll stick with Google Maps.

  7. Apple maps is great & sucks at the same time. If I’m using it in Toronto, its great with road closures, traffic delays, etc. (which is better than google maps was!) The in app search actually works better than google too, possibly because of Yelp & Open Table.

    If I’m at home (45 minutes from GTA). Apple maps is black and white, and small cities around me, don’t even exist.

    I have hope that Apple will catch up in time, they just should’ve released it as a Beta, like they did with Siri. Everyone had high expectations, especially after the keynote.

  8. The number of responses is pretty small, but nonetheless I think older people in rural areas may never buy another iPhone but it has nothing to do with the Maps App. They are being literal. This phone will last them until they die.

  9. Nyagoslav

    In Singapore, for instance, where the penetration of iPhone is reportedly the highest in the world, the app is practically unusable. There are whole neighborhoods that cannot be discovered, living areas are scarcely mapped, etc.

    Pure rubbish.

    Try to find out more before sprouting BS,

  10. @adamc

    You are misreading Nyagoslav’s comments. He was critiquing my survey for only encompassing the US. He felt that in places like Singapore dissatisfaction would be much higher.

    I am not sure but am looking forward to his results.

  11. Other commenters have brought up a couple of the points I had meant to make, but I have a question on the survey.

    You say that almost 1400 users responded to the question “Does your iPhone have iOS 6?” Does that mean you made sure that all of those 1400 users even had iPhones to begin with?

    If so, that’s a lot of users who either don’t know what version they have, or have not updated to iOS6. If not, you’re missing the opportunity to find out if people have avoided the iOS6 update, and if Maps was a reason for that.

  12. Michael
    I did make sure that my respondents had iOS6. I wanted to measure their attitude towards the product after having used it.

    Yours is another good question but due to budget constraints, not one that I explored.

  13. I understand that you made sure the respondents had iOS6. My question pertains to the lead-in to that, and the 1380 who were asked if their iPhones had iOS6. Are we to assume that based on your survey, all 1380 of those respondents had an iPhone, but 1124 of those respondents either didn’t now what version they had, or had not updated?

  14. I think it will be interesting to include the Android users in the survey also because I am sure there are many Android users who wanted to try out the iPhone 5 but the map deterred them away.

  15. @Michael

    You can only assume that they didn’t have iOS6. The question was presented to all users. I didn’t further separate them as to whether they had an iPhone or not.

    I was working within the constraints of a single survey question on Google Survey.

  16. Mike

    So your first question (the screener question) was “Does your iPhone have iOS6?”

    You’re implying that the respondent does have an iPhone. This skews the results.

    This screener question is phrased as a leading question. This skews the results.

    Sorry, but you need to take your methodology way more seriously if you want to follow up with such bold conclusions.

    None of the results are valid and I can only recommend you to look into market research best practices.

  17. Mike

    Off the top of my head, I would think of a screener question along the lines of

    “Have you used any of the following maps applications on the iPhone?”
    - Google Maps
    - Apple Maps
    - XX
    - YY
    - ZZ
    (with multiple answers possible)

    Now if they check the box with Apple Maps, the respondent proceeds to the second question (whose answers also need to be revised).

    I’m not familiar with all options Google consumer surveys but I hope they allow screener questions like this.

  18. Dirk

    Thanks for you input. Next survey I will attempt to address your questions. Is there a good online tutorial on the topic?

    This just showed up at AppleInsider:

    ChangeWave also asked respondents running iOS 6 if they had experienced problems with Apple Maps, and the survey found that the new mapping software has not been a major issue for users. Among those polled, 90 percent reported “no problem at all,” while 3 percent said iOS 6 Maps are a “very big problem,” while 6 percent said the issue is “somewhat of a problem.”

    I did not explore the methodology but it is interesting that the numbers so closely mirror the ones in the survey that I did.

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