Thursday, December 20, 2012

Coincidence? Probably not: as iOS 6 upgrades spike after Google Maps for iOS released

How many people read the news about the horror that was / is Apple Maps on iOS 6 and decided not to upgrade, since there was no Google Maps on the platform? A lot, apparently, since now that Google Maps has returned to iOS, there has been a spike in iOS 6 upgrades.

The report came out Tuesday from mobile ad publisher MoPub. Since Google Maps for iOS was released at the end of last week, MoPub said that the 12,000 apps it supports saw a 29 percent increase in unique iOS 6 users.

It seems many folks waited for the weekend to do the install, which makes sense, since there was probably still some trepidation over the upgrade. Rival ad publisher Chitika reported only a 0.2 percent growth in iOS 6 installs immediately after the Google Maps for iOS 6 launch, with MoPub's data taking into account all five days since the app launch.

Among the fears which may have delayed upgrades were a fear that Google Maps for iOS would not live up to the reputation of the prior, built-in version. In fact, the new version surpasses the old, adding turn-by-turn navigation.

In addition, the iOS 5 to iOS 6 upgrade was a major one, and would take a decent amount of time, especially over-the-air as many prefer to do.

MoPub’s CEO said “we observed since the launch of Google Maps for iOS 6 a 30 percent increase in unique iOS 6 users, and we think it’s related to Google Maps. It verifies the hypothesis that people were actually holding back to upgrade until Google Maps was available.”

It's not much risk making such a hypothesis. Many in the know were warning their friends and colleagues to avoid the upgrade until Apple either fixed its maps (which will likely be a long, drawn-out process) or until Google released its own stand-alone version.

Apple's decision to remove Google Maps and add its own Maps app to iOS 6 turned into a fiasco once users got their hands on the end product. Not only have end users been warned not once, but twice that the app was "dangerous," two people were axed as a result, though Scott Forstall's dismissal surely involved more than just Apple Maps.

It became an embarrassing situation for Apple, one which required Apple CEO Tim Cook to post an open letter of apology, and Apple recommending other map apps, including the Web app version of Google Maps.

The new Google Maps for iOS includes an SDK that developers can use to bypass Apple Maps. Somehow we don't believe Siri will ever include that change.

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