Apple (AAPL  ) released a new, redesigned version of Maps for all U.S. users. The new version for European users will be rolled out in the coming months. Its original Maps product has been plagued with issues since its release with Google's (GOOGL  ) Maps and Waze proving to be more popular. CEO Tim Cook was forced to apologize due to its shortcomings in 2012

Apple vs Google

Apple is not ceding this fight, as its new release improves on its core functions and outclasses Google by not having any intrusive ads or sponsored results. Its also seeking to differentiate its product from Google by ensuring that all user data will remain private and not be used for "geofencing" which means that users' location data and search results are used to serve them with more customized ads.

In addition to improving Apple Maps' core functionality, Apple is stressing that it will not collect any user data as there is no Apple ID linked to Maps. This means that location data, searches, and any personalized features remain on a user's device and not shared with servers. Of course, this is in contrast with Google whose business model is fundamentally about giving away products for free in exchange for users' data which it can monetize.


Some of the main improvements are better road coverage, more pedestrian data, detailed addresses, and land coverage. Apple also promises that its app will run faster and more accurately. Additional features include "Look Around" which allows users to navigate and explore locations via high-resolution 3D street-level photographs. Users can add and share places they have enjoyed with "Collections". Apple Maps also has added indoor maps, real-time transit data and a nifty feature which allows users to share their estimated time of arrival with their friends or family.

Apple is closing the gap with Google in terms of quality and has a clear edge when it comes to respecting users' privacy. Apple has already closed the gap in terms of accuracy. A test in 2018 conducted by Lifehacker measured 120 different routes with Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Waze and found Apple Maps to be the most accurate. This is a far cry from 2012 when even CEO Tim Cook suggested that users should try other mapping apps.

One reason for this improvement has been that Apple is no longer relying on third-party data, instead, it has its own satellites and vehicles on the road to provide the most updated information to users in terms of navigation and traffic information.