Applesauce: All Things Apple
December 23, 2012

Applesauce: All Things Apple – December 23, 2012

As it turns out, 2 million iPhones in an area not completely saturated by Apple goodness can have an effect on a few other numbers; Namely, iOS 6 adoption rates.

Somewhere in the middle of the great Apple maps freak out of 2012, many had begun to believe that many iPhone users would refuse to update their software to iOS six for fear that they would soon become lost in the jungle somewhere, without food, water, or access to the latest breaking bad episodes. However, as we saw, adoption rates were quite healthy in the week following the iOS 6 release. This week, with Google maps now available in Apple’s app store, these old rumors surfaced once more as a piece from TechCrunch suggested that Google maps may be responsible for boosting the iOS 6 adoption rate. Mobile ad network Chitika soon squashed these rumors, saying iOS 6 adoption rates have only grown about 0.02% since Google’s maps release.

This just would not do for TechCrunch, writing another report just days later wherein they cited another mobile ad network, MoPub, as claiming that iOS 6 adoption rates had skyrocketed since Google Maps came onto the App Store scene. According to these new numbers, Google’s Maps had helped drive iOS 6 adoption rates to 29% beginning the day the new app became available.

There were a few other things going on in Apple’s world last Friday than merely Google Maps, however. Last Friday the good people of China were finally able to purchase a new iPhone 5 or iPad mini for themselves and loved ones. As they are often wont to do, Apple released some numbers bragging on the iPhone 5’s performance the following Monday. According to their own sales numbers, Apple was able to sell 2 million iPhone 5s in China during opening weekend sales alone…iPhone 5s which come ship with iOS 6 by default.

MoPub’s data started monitoring iOS 6 adoption rates last weekend when Google maps and Chinese iPhones first became publicly available, and yet they decided to blame a sudden and extreme 29% increase on a mapping application instead of a sudden surge of new devices.


Their claim had the distinct ring of bunk as soon as it was released. It never rang true and felt completely misinformed from the beginning.

First, while it’s not difficult to understand how two different companies could come up with different numbers when it comes to adoption rates, something is amiss when the difference is so vast. Both of these ad networks monitor device ID whenever these phones and tablets ping their network, but a different of nearly 30% screams error. At this point, either company could have made a mistake in their calculations, but there was a clear and obvious error.

This notion is shot down, however, when you take into consideration other adoption rate numbers. Shortly after iOS 6’s release, Chitika ran their numbers and found that some 60% of all iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and recent iPod Touch and iPad owners had upgraded to the latest OS. If another 30% had suddenly upgraded once their Savior Google Maps arrived, that would have placed total adoption rate at 90%. Apple sells plenty of new devices, but older devices exist. For there to be 90% adoption rate is to suggest that there are far fewer “legacy” iOS devices in the wild than there actually are. iPads and iPod Touches aren’t devices which are regularly upgraded—at least not by normal people. I’d be willing to bet these devices, the first generation iPad and older iPod Touch models which have been handed down are largely responsible for those devices which aren’t running iOS 6.

Finally, there’s the issue of “Normal People.”

Apple’s Maps earned them plenty of bad publicity. Some major news sources were already watching Apple when they announced this summer they’d be ditching Google and developing their own mapping solution. When Apple Maps released and ultimately suffered, they did so on quite a large stage. So, to say that Normal People weren’t aware of Apple Maps and it’s lackluster performance is an over-statement.

However, Normal People also aren’t likely to create a moral issue out of a mapping application on a smartphone.

It’s entirely likely these Normal People never noticed much of a difference, as they were already accustomed to Google’s maps getting them lost from time to time as well.

I had heard stories of iPhone users who refused to upgrade to iOS 6 based on a sort of moral high ground, waiting for the moment Google maps was available in the App Store. Some of these people incorrectly thought Apple would reject the App. Some of these people thought that their existing mapping app was good enough and if things aren’t broke, they shouldn’t change them. Personally, I never met any of these people, and those that could upgrade did with no hesitancy.

After all, iOS 6 brings Apple’s Maps which may or may not perform to a person’s standards.

(It’s always worked fine for me.)

iOS 6 also brings Siri to the iPad and newest iPod Touch, as well as Passbook and FaceTime over cellular. Many users were upset about iOS 6, but not enough to pass up all the other great features and upgrades. After all, upgrading to a new OS is almost as good as buying the latest iPhone, and it’s much cheaper.

I believe there were people who finally decided to upgrade to iOS 6 once Google’s Maps became available, but these people are in fewer numbers than previously assumed, and to suggest that Apple’s Maps were SO BAD people refused all the other great new features is completely foolish.

There are those of us who follow technology closely and care deeply about new features and advancements. When a product is launched which fails to meet our expectations, particularly by Apple, it’s easy to assume that the rest of the world is as outraged as we are. This simply isn’t true. A wide majority of the world may love their smartphone and even know some of the ins-and-outs as far as how to make it work the way they want, but they don’t place so much importance on a mapping application.

If Apple had acted as many likely assumed they would (blocking Google Maps from the App Store and forcing their users to use only Apple Maps) then perhaps more people would have taken offense.

But there existed workarounds and plenty of other mapping apps which performed just as well as Apple’s or Google’s maps. These sane people found these apps and continued to live their lives without getting their undergarments twisted into a tight bunch.

Perhaps we could all learn a lesson from the normal people.

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