Apple spent 'billions' on revamped Maps service

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2019
Apple, in response to questions from a U.S. congressional probe into tech antitrust matters, revealed it has invested billions of dollars in the revamped Maps app and corresponding service, a product designed to compete against segment stalwart Google Maps.

Apple Maps


Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google each tendered responses to questions from the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, filed as part of an ongoing antitrust probe into the companies' various dealings in the digital marketplace. The government body released the answers on Tuesday, reports Reuters.

While little new information came out of the process, one tidbit about Apple's business stood out. Asked by the committee how much it spent on Apple Maps, the company said "billions."

Apple executives previously hinted at a high price tag for the project, which in essence builds a mapping system from scratch, but numbers were never mentioned.

How many billions of dollars was earmarked for Maps is unknown. To create the new Apple Maps, which debuted alongside iOS 12, Apple collected mountains of mapping, navigation, routing and image data from dedicated platforms like Apple Maps vans. Years of work culminated in an iOS-exclusive mapping product that boasts highly accurate cartography, rich road maps, integrations with public transport and more.

New features continue to be added to Maps, like the Look Around view in iOS 13. Similar to Google's Street View, Look Around provides street-level imagery for real-world navigation, but Apple's solution bakes in 3D frames and other graphical touches for a more interactive experience. Look Around is slowly rolling out in select metropolitan areas.

Apple was in large part spurred on to create a comprehensive mapping solution after the embarrassing launch of Maps in 2012, the company's first foray into the world of mapping after ditching most integrated Google services in iOS 6. Considered by some as a major blunder, Maps in iOS 6 was unreliable and incorporated incorrect data, while its signature feature -- Flyover -- suffered from graphical issues.

Criticism was so sharp that CEO Tim Cook issued an apology to customers frustrated by the dodgy software.

In addition to the broad Maps investment figure, Apple answered questions about its Safari web browser, App Store commission system and other issues, the report said. Further, two employees sought to move disputes to arbitration. The disputes in question were not specified.

The House Judiciary Committee requested data and material relating to potential anticompetitive conduct in September. Along with the aforementioned topics, the committee is seeking clarity on Apple's crackdown of parental control apps, third-party payment systems, default user apps and so-called "Sherlocking" of third-party apps.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 59
    And still we can not have multiple locations directions like Google Maps, and it’s still connected to Yelp. I had such hopes for this new iOS13 version of maps. But it’s all fluffy fun, and no real life functional needs.
    edited November 2019 flyingdp80s_Apple_GuyphilboogietalexyuraharaMplsPchemengin1davgreg
  • Reply 2 of 59
    yuck9yuck9 Posts: 111member
    And it still has problems. Leads me on a different path 2 out of 5 times to the same place every day. You should be asking for a refund. They saw you coming.  Today I went to a city I've never been to before. I ask for the closest Starbucks. It tells me 2.2 miles away. I drive not more then 3 blocks away and there it is. 

    Maps is showing it's 1.9 miles to location. Few billion on that ? LOL.
    philboogiechemengin1davgreg
  • Reply 3 of 59
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,088member
    appleric said:
    And still we can not have multiple locations directions like Google Maps, and it’s still connected to Yelp. I had such hopes for this new iOS13 version of maps. But it’s all fluffy fun, and no real life functional needs.
    What do you mean. Like selecting a coffee shop or restaurant along the way and pickup the original destination?  Yes it does it. And while it uses yelp.  Other points of interest sources must be in play too
    bakedbananasleavingthebiggfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 59
    genovelle said:
    appleric said:
    And still we can not have multiple locations directions like Google Maps, and it’s still connected to Yelp. I had such hopes for this new iOS13 version of maps. But it’s all fluffy fun, and no real life functional needs.
    What do you mean. Like selecting a coffee shop or restaurant along the way and pickup the original destination?  Yes it does it. And while it uses yelp.  Other points of interest sources must be in play too
    So far I have a very good luck w Apple maps....
    chasmleavingthebiggfastasleepmike1jbdragonrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 59
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,351member
    The new Apple Maps in CarPlay is amazing! The navigation command is clear and accurate. And it shows the traffic lights ahead! This makes it very clear where my car is and will go! 
    djkfisherchasmfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 59
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,346member
    The funny thing here is that Apple Maps has always done what I expect of a Maps application.  As for Starbucks I’ve never needed to find one as I don’t do business with that sort of corporation.  However why anybody would need Maps to find a Starbucks or any restaurant for that matter, is beyond me.  
    bakedbananasfotoformatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 59
    Well I have to tell you that after years using Google, Apple Maps is now my go to map. In fact Google seems to lead me astray more often than Apple. You can tell that they are working on making it better.
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 59
    Apple Maps has improved significantly over the past few years.  They are also very responsive when I submit issues with either the map or directions, often notifying of their fix within a couple of days from my submission.
    chasmsphericMacQcrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 59
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,669member
    Yup, Apple Maps every time now, without exception. 

    The trick I find works best in the UK: place names rather than postcodes, especially for hotels. A postcode in the UK covers about fifteen buildings, no matter how large the buildings and how far apart they are. 

    We tried to find a hotel near Gatwick once, but I didn’t realise our designated driver had put in the postcode. When we were taken to the edge of a field, I told him to put in the name of the hotel. We were then directed to the hotel’s car park entrance, about half a mile away. 

    What I like about Maps/Siri is that it’s learned my habits. I now get alerts about traffic jams when I start my journey home, or cheery little “traffic light” messages when I set off to the gym.
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 59
    Unfortunately Apple Maps is really poor compared to Google Maps when it comes to providing information about POIs (e.g restaurants) in the Netherlands - which I assume is the same for many other countries, because it uses external services like TripAdvisor or Yelp. 
    And “Look Around” is just active for a few North American cities. In no way it comes close to Google’s offerings.

    Obviously Google has a vast amount of information that they can integrate.  

    I hope Apple will build their own “database” even if that isn’t exposed in a “Google” or “Bing” search bar.
    spheric
  • Reply 11 of 59
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,322member
    I've been relying on Apple Maps for years. No issues other than occasional trouble with mispronouncing some street names from time to time. Time to arrive accuracy is astonishing.
    mike1watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 59
    Let’s see what will happen when iPhone will have TOF sensor on back camera and it will appear an “opt out” request (like the Siri one now in iOS 13)

    I think the users will build up the Look Around database (with a piece of salt of AI in order to anonymize the photos)

    Let’s see
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 59
    It'll be interesting to see how Apple manages retail locations since no mapping platform can seem to keep up with new openings and closures.

    Perhaps some AI-based phone calling service, or usage data that can regularly check if a venue is still operating. Sites like tripadvisor/yelp/etc are all garbage resources.
    philboogiewatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 59
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 491member
    yuck9 said:
    And it still has problems. Leads me on a different path 2 out of 5 times to the same place every day. You should be asking for a refund. They saw you coming.  Today I went to a city I've never been to before. I ask for the closest Starbucks. It tells me 2.2 miles away. I drive not more then 3 blocks away and there it is. 

    Maps is showing it's 1.9 miles to location. Few billion on that ? LOL.
    Why do you need a map if you go to the same place every day?
    bakedbananascjcoopsfastasleepmike1dsdlostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 59
    sphericspheric Posts: 2,040member
    genovelle said:
    appleric said:
    And still we can not have multiple locations directions like Google Maps, and it’s still connected to Yelp. I had such hopes for this new iOS13 version of maps. But it’s all fluffy fun, and no real life functional needs.
    What do you mean. Like selecting a coffee shop or restaurant along the way and pickup the original destination?  Yes it does it. And while it uses yelp.  Other points of interest sources must be in play too
    No, like heading to a destination but picking up people along the way. I need this every single weekend (we have several fixed meeting points with band members), and Apple Maps is not capable of adding an extra stop a little ways off the direct route and still giving me a total ETA. 
  • Reply 16 of 59
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,983member
    I've been somewhat fortunate.  My needs of a map tend to increase right behind the development of Apple Maps, in that Maps seems to be always just what I need when I need it.

    I once had a fully fledged Map app – Navigon, by Garmin. It's the best Nav app I've ever used, including Garmin standalone GPS units. Then they dropped it. It's advantage was being able to function offline with downloaded maps.

    If Apple would do this, I'd be very happy. Sure I'd like things like dropping multiple pins and let the routes develop. And then drop more and make route changes on the fly.

    My only real complaint at this point is that it's often not quick enough with the turn by turn data. It doesn't matter too much with there are street signs clearly visible. Often it will count down the distance in feet to the next turn, too  slowly to make the turn. Approaching an intersection Maps may say 200' to the next turn... 150'... 100'... 80'50'30'0'... Rerouting... LOL It might be that the SE is a little slow for Maps.

    That's a good excuse to buy an 11Pro, but then I'd be ticked if it didn't work Maps and GPS much faster.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 59
    Billions for a app that is horrible?  

    When you thought it couldn’t get worse they took overview away.


    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 59
    I'm still not using Apple Maps. Three questions for you folks who are. Positive answers might convince me to start giving Apple Maps a serious look:

    1. Does Apple Maps show the posted speed limits (I know temporary work areas won't be correct) along the computed route? And how about if you're just using it to track progress along roads but not a computed route? Speed limits there too?

    2. Are computed arrival times more accurate than on earlier versions? I guess what I'm asking here is whether Apple is tracking the average traffic speeds along major roads and using that dynamic info to continually recalculate arrival times.

    3. Are alternate routes provided around crashes and/or work zones (or just general traffic congestion)? Kind of like Waze does.
    philboogie
  • Reply 19 of 59
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,303member
    Japhey said:
    yuck9 said:
    And it still has problems. Leads me on a different path 2 out of 5 times to the same place every day. You should be asking for a refund. They saw you coming.  Today I went to a city I've never been to before. I ask for the closest Starbucks. It tells me 2.2 miles away. I drive not more then 3 blocks away and there it is. 

    Maps is showing it's 1.9 miles to location. Few billion on that ? LOL.
    Why do you need a map if you go to the same place every day?
    Cause he's a fucking troll, and logic is not required to come up with bullshit and asinine complaints. Apparently, one anecdotal example is enough to write off Apple Maps completely. 

    Yes, of course Apple maps has "problems". So does Google maps. So does any mapping application on the planet, as they contains billions of data points that are constantly in flux. I use both heavily, and found that there is no clear winner in who has the most updated listings. In many cases, Apple maps does. Sane, rational people understand and appreciate the investment, and the improvements in Maps over the last few years are clear as day and obvious to all but the biggest morons and trolls. I was in Toyko for a few days for the 1st time last week, and successfully relied on Apple Maps for 100% of my transit directions. It's clarity and accuracy blew my mind, and it made all the difference in navigating an insanely large and complex transit systems with massive stations and interconnecting lines. 

    Hundreds of millions of people use Apple maps. You can LOL all you want, but it's a damn impressive accomplishment considering it's only existed for a few years and getting better every single day.  
    fastasleepd_2Rayz2016lostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 59
    Rayz2016 said:
    Yup, Apple Maps every time now, without exception. 

    The trick I find works best in the UK: place names rather than postcodes, especially for hotels. A postcode in the UK covers about fifteen buildings, no matter how large the buildings and how far apart they are. 

    We tried to find a hotel near Gatwick once, but I didn’t realise our designated driver had put in the postcode. When we were taken to the edge of a field, I told him to put in the name of the hotel. We were then directed to the hotel’s car park entrance, about half a mile away. 

    What I like about Maps/Siri is that it’s learned my habits. I now get alerts about traffic jams when I start my journey home, or cheery little “traffic light” messages when I set off to the gym.
    Why would you put in a postcode? Assuming that's similar to Zip code here in the US, that's like a whole neighborhood or larger. 
    watto_cobra
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