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Poll claims Apple Maps a hit, analysis says otherwise, and Microsoft sues over Google Maps

Survey says Apple Maps a hit, but research suggests otherwise... However, Google Maps days may be numbered as Microsoft sues

Conflicting report today with one survey suggesting that people might not be as disappointed with Apple Maps as thought, while research into Apple's online reputation following the launch of iOS 6 suggests that there was a lot of animosity towards the move from Google Maps to Apple Maps.

Our own poll found that 60.5% were unhappy with Apple's attempt at making a Maps app, with nearly 20% of people holding off updating because they didn't want to face life without Google Maps.

However, Google Maps days may be numbered - Microsoft is suing Google, claiming Google's mapping services infringe on a patent dating back to 1995.

Map happy

A ChangeWave Research survey found that nine in 10 survey respondents hadn't experienced a problem with the new mapping software, while 3% said they experienced a "very big problem" with the service.

The research firm claimed: "Simply put, Apple Maps is not considered a problem by the overwhelming majority of users." The research firm claimed that among respondents who said they were unlikely to buy an iPhone 5, none cited Apple's new maps technology as their reason.

ChangeWave claimed that nearly a third of respondents said they were very likely or somewhat likely to buy Apple's new iPhone 5, up from 21.5% who said they were likely to buy the device's predecessor, the iPhone 4S, in surveys conducted last year.

ChangeWave has drawn comparisons with the antannagate issues with the iPhone 4. According to the researchers, surveys back then showed 7% of iPhone 4 owners found the antenna issue "a very big problem", while two-thirds claimed they hadn't experienced any issues.

The research firm also claimed that the Lightning connector is less of an issue than the reaction on the web would suggest, with 6% of iPhone 5 purchasers saying they considered the new cords to be a "very big problem", and 31% claiming it is somewhat of a problem.

According to a separate survey of 168 people, 74% are happy with the new Apple Maps app. The survey indicates that over half (50.7%) of current users of the new app were not affected at all by the app. Just over a fifth, 23.3% said the app was good enough. Another 17.2% said it was annoying, and 5.6% said it might affect future buying decisions. Leaving 3.2%, who indicated that the Map App would definitely prevent them from buying another iPhone in the future.

Due to the small data group the results don't necessary endorse Apple's new Maps app.

On the other hand, in our poll of 2,242 people 43% answered: "I hate it! Bring back Google Maps". Another 17.5% weren't happy that "It's full of mistakes, sort it out Apple!"

Nearly a fifth (19.6%) admitted that they hadn't updated to iOS 6 purely on account of Maps. That left just 12.4 saying: "I like it, but it has some inaccuracies" and 7.5% saying: "Love it, it's better than Google Maps."

Perhaps the difference in results is on account of the more favourable survey being conducted with a US audience - it is thought that the US maps are less flawed that the Maps of the UK. Another reason for the differing results may be that some days had passed between the two polls and in that time Apple Maps may have improved thanks to crowd sourced details of faults.

That said, our requested changes still haven't been made: Colchester is still covered by cloud in the Satellite view, and East Croydon station still isn't shown two weeks after we reported it was missing. Apple is said to be improving Maps though.

However, we have found some good things about Apple Maps. When we were recently in France we were pleased to find that the Maps data was preserved to a very detailed level even when we were not receiving data, which made navigation easy. It is certainly the case that Apple Maps stores more data for use when you are offline, a handy feature if you are traveling abroad and don't want to use up your data allowance. We also found that Apple's Maps are less of a data hog than Google's Maps, handy if you are paying for the data you use.

Apple's reputation

Regardless of whether people are coming around to Apple Maps, there is no doubt, it seems that Apple's reputation was damaged by Apple Mapsgate. Research conducted into Apple's online reputation found that sentiment towards Apple in the days following the iOS 6 release was negative, reports Forbes.

The research found that in the week beginning 21 September there were over 7 million online references to Apple, with over 600,000 referring directly to Maps.

Forbes notes that sentiment around Maps was much more negative than general sentiment towards Apple. Where Apple was in the doghouse, Google was receiving brownie points, though. "Critics expressed a clear preference for Google Maps in this commentary, with over 10% of all comments regarding maps being a direct vote for Google," according to the findings.

There was also a significant amount of regret from those who had upgraded to iOS 6: "Human analysis of a sample of posts suggests that about 50% of negative posts also expressed regret at upgrading".

Analysis of the reaction to Tim Cook's apology also suggested no positive sentiment.

Chris Thomas and Sarah French of Media Measurement said that their analysis "Discovered that a significant proportion of the negative sentiment carried an additional weight in expressing not only disappointment with Apple, but also in positioning an explicit intention - to cancel or defer a purchase, or to recommend the same to others," suggesting that Mapgate may have impacted on sales.

Microsoft to sue over Google Maps

All may not be rosy for Google Maps however. Microsoft has announced that it would be expanding its patent infringement case against Motorola to include Google, specifically targeting the search giant's maps service for Android.

Microsoft is specifically targeting Google as the provider of mapping services that it says infringe upon its patent dating back to 1995, a patent that will remain in effect for another three years. Foss Patents notes that if Google loses the lawsuit, "Google Maps may become unavailable in Germany next spring as collateral damage of Google's unwillingness to address Android's massive, court-validated patent infringement issues."

Targeting Google Maps on a service level would not only affect Motorola's own insignificant sales in Germany, but would also have an impact on every other smartphone maker relying upon Google Maps, writes Apple Insider.

Follow Karen Haslam on Twitter / Follow MacworldUK on Twitter

Related:

Apple Maps works better offline than Google Maps

Many iOS users stick with Apple Maps

Google's Schmidt talks Google Maps, patent wars, and being CEO of Apple

Frustrated developers warned Apple about poor iOS 6 Maps ahead of its launch

Apple quietly improving iOS 6 Maps

Experts applaud Apple CEO Tim Cook's apology over Maps misstep

Tim Cook 'did not have to write' Apple's apology, argues analyst

Apple's Tim Cook issues apology for iOS 6 Maps, suggests using competing apps 'while we're improving'

Apple admits Maps is 'no one's issue but ours'

How to report problems in iOS 6's Maps

Apple lacked map experts, was using third-rate data, expert


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