Consumer Backlash Against Apple Maps Surprised Waze CEO

waze_iconOn Monday, Waze CEO Noam Bardin took the stage at AllThingsD's Dive Into Mobile conference and talked (via Mashable) about how his company didn't think Apple Maps would be "that good" but that it underestimated consumer reaction to Apple's service.

The social turn-by-turn navigation company had assumed that Apple Maps would be good enough for consumers, Bardin said, but this assumption led to the company being surprised by the negative reaction many users had to Apple Maps when they rolled out as part of iOS 6.

That reaction led to an open letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook in which he acknowledged the issues with Apple's Maps app and promised to improve the product while also recommending a number of alternatives, including Waze, while Apple worked to bring its maps to an acceptable standard.

According to Engadget, Bardin said that consumers are rapidly acquiring certain expectations when it comes to services such as maps, expectations that are not necessarily easily met.

Consumers now have a quality bar, and that bar is going up rapidly. Two years ago, Apple's Maps app on iOS 6 would've been a fine product.

Bardin went on to say (via VentureBeat) that with the quality bar continually being raised, companies will have to pour more and more money into mapping to match the quality consumers desire. Unsurprisingly, Bardin notes that Google is the one setting that standard.

“Google is out there creating a standard of quality,” Bardin said. “We feel like we’re the only real competition. Rumors say it is $1 billion to $2 billion spent by Google a year.”

waze_bardin_dive_into_mobile

Waze CEO Noam Bardin at Dive Into Mobile (Source: Engadget)

Bardin does feel that Apple Maps is getting better with time, but that Apple is being handicapped by its vendors. TomTom provides much of the data for Apple Maps, and Bardin noted that TomTom cannot put as many resources into its mapping service as Google can.

In early January, it was rumored that Apple was in talks to acquire Waze, but it was later reported that there was no deal in sight. Engadget notes that the CEO dodged questions of potential acquisitions while VentureBeat says that Bardin wouldn't confirm whether Waze supplies Apple with data on improving Apple Maps.

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Top Rated Comments

Mr Fusion Avatar
147 months ago
For me the issue with Apple Maps is twofold:

- Data is still lacking and inaccurate in my area.

- For a given level of zoom, it doesn't offer me near the wealth of information Google's app gives me. It's frustrating having to zoom in so close to see everything.

If Apple wanted to do Maps better than Google, why would they handicap themselves by relying on TomTom for data? Surely they must know the time and resources Google puts into their own product. If this was a "stop-gap" effort for transition purposes, they sure missed the mark.

The other issue Maps faces is its built-in reputation for not being good. Once an app starts out bad, it gets branded as such, and it's nearly impossible to convince people it's no longer bad through small background updates.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
g-7 Avatar
147 months ago
Two years ago, Apple's Maps app on iOS 6 would've been a fine product

With 11 year outdated info? POIs up to 1 km (about half a mile, whatever) inaccurate? Ridiculous satellite imagery quality?

No. It wouldn't.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sfrancis928 Avatar
147 months ago
At this point I prefer Apple's Maps to Google's on the iPhone. I didn't at first because Apple couldn't keep ahold of my position at all when I was driving. But that has been fixed and I prefer the look and the iOS integration.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
a0me Avatar
147 months ago
With 11 year outdated info? POIs up to 1 km (about half a mile, whatever) inaccurate? Ridiculous satellite imagery quality?

No. It wouldn't.
Two years ago, Google Maps already had way better POIs, more accurate maps and better satellite imagery.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kjs862 Avatar
147 months ago
I prefer using Apple Maps now. At first I hated it but now it's fine. Though when I ride the subways I still need to use Google's maps.

TomTom may not be able to pump as much money into their mapping as Google can, but who says that Apple isn't pumping money into TomTom? I don't think something like this would be a first time thing.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iPhoneXL Avatar
147 months ago
In a couple of years, Apple maps will be the gold standard. And Waze will be irrelevant.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)