Apple Maps is a problem for the iPhone maker. The application, which showed up in iOS 6 and was designed to replace Google Maps, was expected to give users the kind of reliability and innovative experience that customers have come to expect from Apple products.
Instead, applications hit the market with a wide array of performance problems that left iOS users scratching their heads and competitors like Google and Microsoft licking their chops. Things became so bad that Apple CEO Tim Cook was forced to apologize for his company’s massive mistake.
Maps was so bad that Apple is faced with the decision to either fix it fast or cut its losses and kill it. But Maps is still fixable. The application might suffer from a lack of detail, and errors abound in some continents around the world, but they can be addressed.
With the right design decisions and additional investment, Apple could actually improve Maps in just months. This would enable the company to silence critics and give Google Maps a real run for its money.
Don’t believe it? Read on to find out what Apple should do to vastly improve Maps
1. Acquire Waze
According to the rumor mill, Apple might have talked with Waze, a social-navigation app maker, about buying the company. Although it’s likely that Apple won’t acquire Waze, it’s a good idea. Apple Maps could use some real-time traffic and social features. Waze will deliver that.
2. Maybe even acquire TomTom
Aside from Waze, there has been some talk of Apple possibly acquiring TomTom. The GPS specialist is partnering with Apple on map technology already, which makes the deal all the more sensible. Buying TomTom will be expensive and could end up costing billions. But the company has the talent and expertise the iPhone maker needs to improve Maps quickly.
3. Steal more Google Maps workers
According to reports, Apple has been surreptitiously targeting folks who have worked on Google Maps to see if they want to join its Maps team. That’s a good idea. Google is the leader right now in mapping applications, and its staff is second to none. Why shouldn’t Apple try to woo those folks away from Google?
4. Invest serious cash in Maps
The nice thing about being Apple is that it has enough cash to do what it wants, when it wants. So, rather than invest all kinds of cash in a rumored watch (a dumb idea, if I’ve ever heard one), Apple should throw that money into Maps. Apple’s mapping application is integral to iOS’ future. Apple should pour its money into fixing or replacing its Map application.
Apple Maps Can Still Be Saved: 10 Ways to Fix It Fast
5. Get the updates out more quickly
Time is running out. Although it’s believed that Apple is quietly updating Maps, the company needs to make notable changes more quickly. Right now, Apple is losing the PR war against Google and despite some minor changes, users haven’t seen enough changes or improvements in Maps to make them change their opinions about the application’s quality. It’s about time Apple starts rolling out major updates far more quickly.
6. Make it clear when updates come out
Apple needs to trumpet the news whenever it rolls out a significant Maps update. Customers have had enough of the quiet updates that no one sees or seems to care about. Each time Apple delivers a new feature or some improvements, the company must make that clear to the iOS community. To not do so means conceding that Google is the unchallenged king of Internet map applications.
7. Forget the map visuals
There’s a common belief in the mobile world that Apple will never be able to catch Google Maps because of StreetView. That’s nonsense. The fact is that today’s users care most about an application’s accuracy and ability to get them from one point to another. While Google’s StreetView might be nice, it’s not the killer feature Apple has to deliver first.
8. But don’t forget to give users some extras.
That said, Apple mustn’t lose sight of the importance of extras. While satellite and street imaging might be less important, having more points of interest is. Improved real-time traffic information is also an important aspect of Maps’ value proposition. Some nifty functional extras are a necessary piece of the Maps puzzle.
9. Strive for innovation
Innovation is lacking in Maps. The application doesn’t do anything that breaks the mold in the mapping world and is in no way better than Google’s alternative. The time has come for Apple to spend plenty of time trying to find that single feature that no other mapping companies have considered. What is it? Who knows? But Apple must find it.
10. License services from others
If Apple doesn’t want to acquire too many other companies, the iPhone maker must start thinking seriously about licensing services from other firms. There are several prominent and highly respected mapping applications in the wild, and they all do something fun and interesting. Apple should search through those map applications, find some likely to appeal to users and license the best so it can add them to Maps. Why try to reinvent the wheel?