After 11 years of work, people actually like Apple Maps

Posted:
in iOS edited July 2023

The Wall Street Journal has just noticed that people do actually like and use Apple Maps, a change that took only 11 years to be acknowledged.

Apple Maps
Apple Maps



Apple Maps had what could be characterized as a terrible start to its existence in 2012, with a catalog of issues that didn't help users shift over to it from Google Maps. Now, over a decade later, the Wall Street Journal acknowledges that Apple Maps is no longer terrible.

The profile of the navigational tool published on Monday refers to the "hot-mess territory" of Apple Maps' launch, including considerable map errors that threatened lives, as well as a poorly implemented 3D Flyover. The issues were sufficient enough for Maps chief Richard Williamson to be fired from the company, and for CEO Tim Cook to offer an apology to customers.

After asking users and user experience analysts, the report deems that Apple has finally fixed the service enough to be usable. This apparently occurs after a decade of upgrades, updates, and refinements to the service by Apple's engineers.

"Some users are finding reasons to switch to Apple Maps, including its clear public directions and visually appealing design," the article claims. It even quotes Craig Federighi stating "Maps has come a long way, and people have noticed," albeit from WWDC 2020, three years ago.

Changes of opinion



A number of reasons from users are also mentioned as proof of this change. However, while the headline and the initial tone proposes the change in sentiment was a more recent event, its first example goes completely against that.

Airline industry analyst Jason Rabinowitz claimed they switched to Android to use Google Maps more easily after being "incensed" by Apple Maps' introduction. He then returned to iPhone in 2015, and returned to Apple Maps after the introduction of transit features.

In another example, Apple Maps became more useful to a "Google Maps power user" after being prompted to use it in an airport, complete with recommendations within the terminals of shops and restaurants.

"It made me kind of revisit and rethink some of my prior assumptions about it," Jane Natoli explains. "Whatever initial reputational hurdles that Apple Maps faced, I think they've jumped over those."

Throughout the piece, Apple's ability to present data to users in Apple Maps is seen as a big selling point, as it's "really good at making things look pretty," user Agelica Nguyen insists. By contrast, Rabinowitz calls Google's own transit layer "sinfully ugly to look at," due to being heavily cluttered.

Despite Apple's decade of work, the article still says Apple has more it can do.

Referencing two users, it claims Apple still needs to fix routing, with one "led astray" in Boston . The other, a Los Angeles intern, believed that Apple Maps routed him through residential neighborhoods to avoid gridlock, but insists that the diversion still added time to the commute compared to sitting in traffic.

Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    tomahawktomahawk Posts: 178member
    And didn't even mention that Google Maps couldn't figure out rural addresses that were formatted similar to N5555 Someplace Rd.  It happily dropped you in the dead center of the road, didn't matter if that road spanned three counties.  We used to have to post maps on our business website that included 20+ addresses.  To post a Google Map I had to manually look up each address on Apple Maps to get the correct location and move the pin for that address to the actual location. One of the biggest reasons I used Apple Maps a lot from the start.
    baconstangFileMakerFellerlolliverwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 34
    barthrhbarthrh Posts: 138member
    I find Apple Maps dangerous. Here's why: You're driving along with them on CarPlay and you come up to a complex intersection. The map zooms in and it looks so mind-blowingly amazing I find it hard to keep my eyes on the real road. The renderings, down to the complex markings at some intersections, are just so nice.
    ronnwilliamlondonSpitbathOferXedwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 34
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,727member
    Biggest sell for me was not having Google slurp up every bit of information about where I am, where I'm going, how long I stay in certain places, etc, etc. But I agree that Apple took about 5 years to iron out most of the kinks with Maps. Which isn't typical for Apple, but then they weren't great at cloud services in general at the time.
    edited July 2023 ronnbaconstangdewmeappleinsideruserFileMakerFellerlolliverwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 34
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 755member
    barthrh said:
    I find Apple Maps dangerous. Here's why: You're driving along with them on CarPlay and you come up to a complex intersection. The map zooms in and it looks so mind-blowingly amazing I find it hard to keep my eyes on the real road. The renderings, down to the complex markings at some intersections, are just so nice.
    In this scenario it sounds like you’re the danger on the road. 
    M68000freeassociate2williamlondongrandact73Graeme000lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 34
    barthrhbarthrh Posts: 138member
    igorsky said:
    barthrh said:
    I find Apple Maps dangerous. Here's why: You're driving along with them on CarPlay and you come up to a complex intersection. The map zooms in and it looks so mind-blowingly amazing I find it hard to keep my eyes on the real road. The renderings, down to the complex markings at some intersections, are just so nice.
    In this scenario it sounds like you’re the danger on the road. 
    Good grief. Sometimes you think that it's so obvious that there is no reason for a sarcasm tag, then someone proves you wrong.
    muthuk_vanalingamget seriousronnwilliamlondonSpitbathcommand_fbaconstangMplsPOferentropys
  • Reply 6 of 34
    I prefer Waze for my day-to-day navigation, including for routine trips. The reason is that I know that the maps are up-to-date and the traffic and road-closure data is accurate. What allows Waze to accomplish that is that it obtains data from all Android users, not just those that use Waze, and community-edited maps. Apple has the first component of that from all of its iPhone users. What would help is allowing community members to edit and correct map details.

    To give you a couple of examples:
    1. I am not a Waze map editor myself. It’s a bit complicated—which keeps vandals away, too, I guess. A nearby road has a 30-day closure, because of roadway realignment, starting in two days. I reported this in the Waze map. An editor has already implemented this change and scheduled it, and two days from now, I can expect Waze to send me on a detour (not necessarily the officially suggested one). After 30 days this road closure will automatically disappear, unless someone reports that the construction project finished early, or—let’s hope not—took longer.
    2. A while back, Waze advised me to make a left turn across a median that was not interrupted at that point. I reported that, and a community editor implemented that change. Community editors are eager to help make even minor edits like that, which improve overall map accuracy.
    With Apple’s loyal following, I would think that an army of willing editors could easily be found who conscientiously would make edits. This could propel Apple Maps ahead and would likely help especially in markets outside of the U.S., on which Apple places a lower priority (case in point: today’s news that Apple Pay is rolling out in Morocco, nine years after its inception).
    williamlondonOferFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 7 of 34
    maltzmaltz Posts: 454member
    "fixed the service enough to be usable"

    High praise indeed.  lol

    But don't get me wrong - that genuinely is vast improvement.  But I still use Google/Waze for navi.  Apple Maps still royally screws something up within a week or two every time I decide to give it another shot every couple of years.
    williamlondoncommand_fkdupuis77
  • Reply 8 of 34
    maltzmaltz Posts: 454member
    With Apple’s loyal following, I would think that an army of willing editors could easily be found who conscientiously would make edits. This could propel Apple Maps ahead and would likely help especially in markets outside of the U.S., on which Apple places a lower priority (case in point: today’s news that Apple Pay is rolling out in Morocco, nine years after its inception).

    Apple's following may be loyal, but its user base - especially its Maps user base - is dwarfed by Waze/Google's.  I've also found that even in moderately-sized US metro areas (500k+) new, major roads were on Google/Waze the day they opened, but took weeks-to-months to appear in Apple Maps.  I've also found new-ish subdivisions that have been there 1-2 years, where the streets are there, but the numbering is all wrong.  If you're not in a major US city, Apple Maps is still fairly terrible, in my experience, even today.
    williamlondongrandact73Ofer
  • Reply 9 of 34
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,727member
    maltz said:
    With Apple’s loyal following, I would think that an army of willing editors could easily be found who conscientiously would make edits. This could propel Apple Maps ahead and would likely help especially in markets outside of the U.S., on which Apple places a lower priority (case in point: today’s news that Apple Pay is rolling out in Morocco, nine years after its inception).

    Apple's following may be loyal, but its user base - especially its Maps user base - is dwarfed by Waze/Google's.  I've also found that even in moderately-sized US metro areas (500k+) new, major roads were on Google/Waze the day they opened, but took weeks-to-months to appear in Apple Maps.  I've also found new-ish subdivisions that have been there 1-2 years, where the streets are there, but the numbering is all wrong.  If you're not in a major US city, Apple Maps is still fairly terrible, in my experience, even today.
    Haven't had any problems up here in Canada, which typically lags behind US for updates, navigating newer areas in the past 5 or so years. Only thing I've found living in a downtown core is that it typically doesn't do a great job on traffic conditions. It shows blue almost everywhere, even when there's heavy traffic. But then I've tried comparing routes with Google Maps and it doesn't fare any better. Just have to accept the reality that there's traffic everywhere, and simply avoid areas with construction (both do a good job marking those).
    mknelsonFileMakerFellerlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 34
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,879member
    I prefer Waze for my day-to-day navigation, including for routine trips. The reason is that I know that the maps are up-to-date and the traffic and road-closure data is accurate. What allows Waze to accomplish that is that it obtains data from all Android users, not just those that use Waze, and community-edited maps. Apple has the first component of that from all of its iPhone users. What would help is allowing community members to edit and correct map details.

    To give you a couple of examples:
    1. I am not a Waze map editor myself. It’s a bit complicated—which keeps vandals away, too, I guess. A nearby road has a 30-day closure, because of roadway realignment, starting in two days. I reported this in the Waze map. An editor has already implemented this change and scheduled it, and two days from now, I can expect Waze to send me on a detour (not necessarily the officially suggested one). After 30 days this road closure will automatically disappear, unless someone reports that the construction project finished early, or—let’s hope not—took longer.
    2. A while back, Waze advised me to make a left turn across a median that was not interrupted at that point. I reported that, and a community editor implemented that change. Community editors are eager to help make even minor edits like that, which improve overall map accuracy.
    With Apple’s loyal following, I would think that an army of willing editors could easily be found who conscientiously would make edits. This could propel Apple Maps ahead and would likely help especially in markets outside of the U.S., on which Apple places a lower priority (case in point: today’s news that Apple Pay is rolling out in Morocco, nine years after its inception).
    I don’t know how Apple does it via Waze, but not long ago a regular road was closed for a parade. Police were directing drivers along an alternate route. Apple Maps likewise routed me around it on that route, likely done without human editor intervention and just looking at driver behavior. (Also possible that drivers reported the outage with the option in Maps)
    williamlondonSpitbathFileMakerFellerlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 34
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,879member
    maltz said:
    "fixed the service enough to be usable"

    High praise indeed.  lol

    But don't get me wrong - that genuinely is vast improvement.  But I still use Google/Waze for navi.  Apple Maps still royally screws something up within a week or two every time I decide to give it another shot every couple of years.
    Opposite here, been using AM from the get go. Issue one time many many years ago, about all I recall.  
    ihatescreennameswilliamlondonmike1Spitbathlolliverwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 12 of 34
    aankopenaankopen Posts: 10member
    In The Netherlands our roads have different letters, A1, N1, D1 etc. But Apple maps all call them D, the D1 etc. As the A4 is something very different than then N44, and the D44 not even exists, voice navigation is unusable. Give me Google maps, always correct.
    gatorguywilliamlondonFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 13 of 34
    amar99amar99 Posts: 181member
    I like how the "iOS 17 trigger warnings feature" article has comments disabled. Guess they were worried the article would be triggering?
    edited July 2023 williamlondonappleinsideruser
  • Reply 14 of 34
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 1,125member
    amar99 said:
    I like how the "iOS 17 trigger warnings feature" article has comments disabled. Guess they were worried the article would be triggering?
    It's actually "How to turn on Sensitive Content Warnings in iOS 17" and although the article mentions "triggers" it's about detecting and hiding nude images in messages. Fairly, that could be triggering if some douche keeps sending unwanted dick pics.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 34
    Former Waze user (pre and post Google acquisition) and have long since moved over to Apple Maps.

    Having lived in Boston now for sixteen years (NYC native), I gotta say that the driver that was “led astray” is either a crappy driver (there’s a preponderance of them here), or was confused by Boston’s actual physical layout, which can be tortuous and full of conflicting visual guidance. I highly doubt it was Maps. (Basing that on using it to drive daily to work sites all over the area for years. Thousands of road miles.)


    williamlondondewmeFileMakerFellerwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 16 of 34
    What would help is allowing community members to edit and correct map details.
    Apple Maps has a button that says “Report an Issue”. That button is in a few spots within AM and can be used to report issues with a business (such as incorrect hours, incorrect locations on the map, business moved or closed, etc), to report errors in navigation, etc. It’s there for anyone to use. The issue gets reported then fixed, sometimes Apple will ask for more information before a fix is issued.

    maltz said:
    With Apple’s loyal following, I would think that an army of willing editors could easily be found who conscientiously would make edits. This could propel Apple Maps ahead and would likely help especially in markets outside of the U.S., on which Apple places a lower priority (case in point: today’s news that Apple Pay is rolling out in Morocco, nine years after its inception).

    Apple's following may be loyal, but its user base - especially its Maps user base - is dwarfed by Waze/Google's.  I've also found that even in moderately-sized US metro areas (500k+) new, major roads were on Google/Waze the day they opened, but took weeks-to-months to appear in Apple Maps.  I've also found new-ish subdivisions that have been there 1-2 years, where the streets are there, but the numbering is all wrong.  If you're not in a major US city, Apple Maps is still fairly terrible, in my experience, even today.
    It’s the opposite where I am. Our house is fairly new, built on a new street in 2021. People using Apple Maps get directions to my house, as expected. People using Google Maps end up on a street that’s about 1/2 a mile away from us, that isn’t similarly named and usually call asking how to find us. This was especially frustrating when we kept getting calls from furniture delivery drivers who were on the wrong street and using Google Maps. I’d have to walk them through all the turns to get to my house. We’ve been here now for over 18 months and last month Google Maps was still providing incorrect directions.
    edited July 2023 techconcwilliamlondonFileMakerFellerlolliverwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 17 of 34
    I had never really used ANY driving assistance system on a regular basis and then used Apple Maps for a five day 2200 mile road trip a couple of years ago. It worked fine. Application froze a single time during the trip. Exited to a rest stop and restarted. Overall, it exceeded my expectations.
    williamlondonwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 18 of 34
    SpitbathSpitbath Posts: 91member
    I prefer Waze for my day-to-day navigation, including for routine trips. The reason is that I know that the maps are up-to-date and the traffic and road-closure data is accurate. What allows Waze to accomplish that is that it obtains data from all Android users, not just those that use Waze, and community-edited maps. Apple has the first component of that from all of its iPhone users. What would help is allowing community members to edit and correct map details.

    To give you a couple of examples:
    1. I am not a Waze map editor myself. It’s a bit complicated—which keeps vandals away, too, I guess. A nearby road has a 30-day closure, because of roadway realignment, starting in two days. I reported this in the Waze map. An editor has already implemented this change and scheduled it, and two days from now, I can expect Waze to send me on a detour (not necessarily the officially suggested one). After 30 days this road closure will automatically disappear, unless someone reports that the construction project finished early, or—let’s hope not—took longer.
    2. A while back, Waze advised me to make a left turn across a median that was not interrupted at that point. I reported that, and a community editor implemented that change. Community editors are eager to help make even minor edits like that, which improve overall map accuracy.
    With Apple’s loyal following, I would think that an army of willing editors could easily be found who conscientiously would make edits. This could propel Apple Maps ahead and would likely help especially in markets outside of the U.S., on which Apple places a lower priority (case in point: today’s news that Apple Pay is rolling out in Morocco, nine years after its inception).
    I tried Waze once a few years ago and the map was flipped so that if you were traveling north, then east was west. All the labels and text were not reversed so it appeared normal until it instructed you to turn left but appeared on screen as a right turn. Never deleted an app so fast in my entire life!
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 19 of 34
    croprcropr Posts: 1,124member
    Still not really usable in Belgium due to the language issues. When Apple Maps was launched in Belgium some 10 years ago, I tried ito use Apple Maps + siri to navigate me to 5 major roads in Antwerp:  Apple Maps +  Siri managed to route me to 1 address correctly: Siri did not understand 3 of them, and Maps sent me  1 to the same street in a neighboring village.   For me it was unbelieveable that the main boulevard in Antwerp, the "Amerikalei" was not understood.

    From time to time I repeated the test

    Currently it has improved but has not yet reached an acceptable level: Siri recognizes 3 out of 5, which maps correctly routed, but Siri is still missing 2 out of 5. 

    The pronunciation of the street names is Apple Maps is still after all of this years horrible.  Apple Maps still not manages to pronounce the "Desguinlei" in such a way that it can be understood by humans. 

    Using Apple Maps in Brussels could also be improved.  I am Dutch speaking and Brussel is officially a bilingual Dutch / French city, so I am expecting that Apple Maps uses the Dutch version of the street names in Brussels.  But Apple Maps have a very mixed bag here:  sometimes it uses the French version somtimes the Dutch version, but not consistently.

    So still sticking to Google Maps and Waze. 


    williamlondonappleinsideruserFileMakerFellermuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 34
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,727member
    cropr said:
    Still not really usable in Belgium due to the language issues. When Apple Maps was launched in Belgium some 10 years ago, I tried ito use Apple Maps + siri to navigate me to 5 major roads in Antwerp:  Apple Maps +  Siri managed to route me to 1 address correctly: Siri did not understand 3 of them, and Maps sent me  1 to the same street in a neighboring village.   For me it was unbelieveable that the main boulevard in Antwerp, the "Amerikalei" was not understood.

    From time to time I repeated the test

    Currently it has improved but has not yet reached an acceptable level: Siri recognizes 3 out of 5, which maps correctly routed, but Siri is still missing 2 out of 5. 

    The pronunciation of the street names is Apple Maps is still after all of this years horrible.  Apple Maps still not manages to pronounce the "Desguinlei" in such a way that it can be understood by humans. 

    Using Apple Maps in Brussels could also be improved.  I am Dutch speaking and Brussel is officially a bilingual Dutch / French city, so I am expecting that Apple Maps uses the Dutch version of the street names in Brussels.  But Apple Maps have a very mixed bag here:  sometimes it uses the French version somtimes the Dutch version, but not consistently.

    So still sticking to Google Maps and Waze.  
    Funny coincidence: I was recently on vacation in Brussels and used Apple Maps to navigate there. I agree that the pronunciations of street names was terrible, but that happens even with some streets in the US and Canada. However, the directions were spot on, and that's what really counts: knowing when to exit, which direction to turn, what lane to be in, how far until the next turn, etc.

    And yeah, since I didn't really know how to pronounce many of the names myself, I typed them in rather than using Siri. I assumed that if Siri is set to use the same language as the street names, it would do a better job of understanding the names. But it sounds like that isn't the case.
    edited July 2023 FileMakerFellerlolliverwatto_cobra
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