Apple Maps App Must be Overhauled. No Choice

Apple Maps redesign coming with iOS 12
Apple Maps redesign coming with iOS 12
Apple Maps redesign coming with iOS 12

It seems clear why Apple would want to revamp its Maps app. Apple has a vested interest in preserving and enhancing the iPhone’s utility for finding destinations and invoking transit and other services. Many indirect services depend on the user having great situational awareness. (For more background, see: “Apple is rebuilding maps from the ground up.”)

Why deliver, as Apple has, a map product that’s less than best-in-class and allow a competitor to horn in, inviting the user into its own many services? And Apple has a great reputation for preserving our privacy, so the only reason a user might drift away is because Google Maps remains better in some respects. We understand that.

Still, it remains interesting to hear the other side of the story, especially from Ben Lovejoy at 9to5Mac. I think he’s incorrect in his overall reasoning, but that doesn’t mean I won’t present his case for you to reflect on. Especially since he does cover all the hot buttons when it comes to Apple Maps. So here it is. “I understand why Apple wanted its own maps, but it fails the laser focus test.

Apple Maps Should Dominate

Here’s what I think is important. In Lovejoy’s article, a survey conducted by PollDaddy reveals that it’s a fairly even split right now between Apple Maps and Google Maps, amongst presumably a preponderance of Apple customers reading the 9to5Mac article. I imagine Apple execs wonder why they can’t make Apple Maps so good and so well known for its protections that no reasonable iOS user would even consider using Google Maps. In principle, the ratio ought to be 90:10 for Apple Maps. At least that’s the question I’d ask.

In a mobile world of very demanding iOS users, Apple Maps has to really shine. Never fail. Never frustrate. I think that when Apple Maps was first released in 2012 (iOS 6), there was only a vague understanding of the technical challenges involved in first-class mapping.

Now, six years later, Apple knows what it needs to do to perfectly fulfill this critical function of, principally, the iPhone.

Next Page: The News Debris for the week of July 2nd. The World Wide Web has failed us.

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W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

John: I fear that you may have buried the lede in this week’s PD (not that PD is designed to have a lede), as seemingly the most important story in your line up is that of Tim Berners-Lee and his quest to decentralise the Web via his new platform, Solid, and give users more control over both their privacy and data, rather than leave it to the discretion of information giants like FB, Google and Amazon. A few passages stand out from the Vanity Fair piece, among them this one: From the beginning, in fact, Berners-Lee understood how the epic… Read more »


A headline worthy of Cato 😉

Lee Dronick

Inspector Clouseau’s butler? 😀


Apple Maps is fine, not great, but fine. I use it exclusively and certainly welcome any improvements but it’s rarely if ever let me down. On the topic of user penetration what isn’t pointed out is any iOS user who uses Google’s search engine to find an address is forced to use Google Maps. In fact you can’t even copy the address instead getting a proprietary coordinates format that only works with Google Maps. THAT NEES TO STOP!


Hhmmm. The Apple lock-in is just as bad. I’d like both of them to use a standardized format.


Two words Street View. Sure Apple Maps will give me a route and turn by turn directions, and very well I might ad. But sometimes I want to see what the place looks like from where I’m going to park. If it’s a big building, let me wander, virtually down the street to see where parking is available, where the building entrances are, what’s across the street, does the neighbourhood look sketchy. AFAIK Apple Maps won’t to that.


Ben might cover his hot buttons but fails to mention two of mine. 1. the ability to adjust a route, as Google maps provides. Apple maps usually provides three choices but you have to pick just one. No mix-and-match, and no adjustment 2. Turn-by-turn directions in other countries are awful. For example, main roads in Britain are labeled like M4 (a motorway, like an interstate here), A4 (large multi-lane road, often divided highway), B123 (secondary roads). But “Clara” – the Apple maps turn-by-turn assistant – instead refers to them by the road names such as “Oxford Road”, “Bristol Road” even… Read more »

Lee Dronick

Yes the ability to specify or adjust a route, include side trips. I have iOS hiking and walking apps that can do that.

I also want a distance scale that sticks on screen.