Apple’s new Maps app is the very first item on their list of major new features in iOS 6, but for many iPhone and iPad users around the world those new maps are going to be a major disappointment.
In iOS 6, Apple no longer uses Google’s traffic, transit, or street view features, switching instead to their own traffic data, and adding turn-by-turn navigation and a 3D Flyover view. As a result, features will be lost in dozens of countries:
- Transit: Removed from 51 countries with 4.9 billion people.
- Traffic: Removed from 24 countries with 2.4 billion people.
- Street View: Removed from 40 countries with 3 billion people.
In total, 63 countries with a combined population of 5 billion people will be without one or more of these features they previously had in iOS. Apple is risking upsetting 70% of the world’s population1, seemingly without much greater purpose than speeding the removal of their rival Google from iOS. Few consumers care about such battles though, nor should they have to.
Something In Exchange
On the plus side, at least people are getting turn-by-turn directions and Apple’s Flyover feature in exchange, right? Not so fast: 20 countries (population: 3.2 billion) are losing transit, traffic, or street view and getting neither turn-by-turn nor Flyover. The biggest losers are Brazil, India, Taiwan, and Thailand (population: 1.5 billion) which overnight will go from being countries with every maps feature (transit, traffic, and street view) to countries with none of those features, nor any of the new features either.
It gets worse. Even in countries where turn-by-turn and/or Flyover are available, the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and the 4th generation iPod touch won’t support them. These devices are owned by tens of millions of users who may update over-the-air when prompted, only to find they’ve lost features and haven’t even gained any of the marquee Maps features in return.
Based on past data2, it’s likely that at least 200 million users will upgrade to iOS 6 in the next two weeks. Even if only 1 in 10 people are upset by these changes, Apple will have 20 million unhappy customers on their hands, roughly equivalent to the entire population of Australia.
A Temporary Blip?
Apple’s maps are clearly behind in some key areas, but they will presumably continue to improve over time. Google has committed to making their maps available everywhere, so it seems likely they will release their own iOS maps app soon, as they did with YouTube, which has similarly been removed from iOS 6.
Lost Feature Breakdown
Here are the countries that are losing at least one of the three big Google Maps features:
Google Maps vs. Apple Maps
Here’s the chart of all 77 countries affected by the iOS 6 changeover from Google’s maps to Apple’s:
* At least one city with unofficial Flyover views. Only the US officially has Flyover.