Ever since Apple abandoned Google Maps for their own maps in iOS 6, well, it hasn’t been good (to say the least). There have been big problems with Apple’s maps product, including broken landscapes, mislabeled locations and landmarks, and all around incompetence when it comes to navigation.
They’ve been so disappointing that Apple CEO Tim Cook felt the need to make a public apology and recommend other maps apps for people to use while they got it together.
But in a few weeks of bad press and terrible news for Apple Maps, there seems to be one ray of hope. Analytics company Onavo says that Apple Maps edge out Google Maps in one important area:
According to tests run by Onavo, Apple Maps were about five times more data efficient that Google Maps (for iOS 5).
“Our data experts performed an identical series of activities on Google Maps and Apple Maps that included searching for several US cities, addresses and airports and zooming in and out to locate specific locations. On Google Maps, the average data loaded from the cellular network for each step was 1.3MB. Apple Maps came in at 271KB – that’s approximately 80% less data! On some actions, such as zooming in to see a particular intersection, Apple Maps’ efficiency advantage edged close to 7X,” says Onavo in a blog post.
Onavo attributed Apple Maps’ success in these tests to their use of vector graphics – which also led to smooth resizing and fast responsiveness.
When it comes to satellite view, Apple didn’t quite perform as well – but they still beat Google Maps. In the tests, Apple Maps used 428KB for a single page load, compared to 930KB for Google Maps.
For someone concerned about their data use while trying to navigate out in the world where Wi-Fi isn’t an option – consuming less of their plans inside maps apps is probably a big deal. But in the end, until Apple gets Maps worked out, a broken app that uses less data still isn’t going to make most users very happy.