Call it a riddle for the modern era: what app, not specifically from Apple (News - Alert), drove a 29 percent spike in users updating their iOS devices to iOS 6?
The answer to that riddle, which may not come as a surprise to many upon hearing it, is Google (News - Alert) Maps, which got a whole lot of users interested in bumping up their version of iOS to the latest to make it more useful.
We all likely remember the Apple Maps fiasco that happened back in September, in which users discovered that Apple Maps was deeply flawed. Sufficiently flawed, in fact, to prompt CEO Tim Cook to release an apology letter and even reportedly cost some people their jobs.
Many iPhone (News - Alert) users, in turn, kept their version of iOS intact at iOS 5, since iOS 5 boasted Google Maps pre-installed. Had they upgraded to iOS 6, they would have lost access to that version – until now.
Google released a new version of Google Maps for the iPhone, and that in turn led the mobile advertising exchange MoPub to note that there have since been a lot of people moving to install iOS 6 on their devices, a 29-percent spike in the last week alone. Since MoPub is, according to reports, the largest mobile ad exchange out there, receiving a billion impressions daily, they're in a good place to notice such things.
What they noticed was that just December 12 alone, the day Google Maps was added to the Apple App Store, the count of unique iOS 6 devices went up 6 percent. By the Saturday of that week, the number had increased to fully 29 percent.
Given that only two days ago, reports arrived that Google Maps for iPhone had reached 10 million downloads in just 48 hours after its release, it makes quite a bit of sense. Why shouldn't the number of users who updated their devices to iOS 6 increase rapidly, now that they had what's being called a better mapping system from several quarters in place?
Indeed, there are plenty of users suggesting that not only is Google Maps better than Apple Maps, but it is now better than it's ever been, making Apple Maps look even worse by comparison. There are several new features involved with the newest Google Maps, like new user interface features and improved image quality.
Making a welcome comeback, of course, was Google Maps' highly accurate mapping.
The Apple Maps fiasco is one that Apple's not likely to live down any time soon. Google swooping in to eat Apple's map lunch with an improved Google Maps certainly isn't helping their case any. But Apple still has plenty to offer its users, and the impact of this particular issue isn't likely to be too pronounced.
Still, if Google Maps had the potential to keep users from upgrading to iOS 6 in those kinds of numbers, it's the kind of thing that Apple may want to be very careful of in the future.
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Edited by Braden Becker