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It seems negative reviews of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) new mapping application didn’t discourage iDevice users from upgrading to iOS 6, which launched on Wednesday. Within 24 hours of its release, about 15 percent of iOS data traffic was coming from devices running on iOS 6. Compare that to Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android 4.0, which took toughly 8 months to reach a similar ratio, or iOS 5, which took about 5 days to hit 20 percent.
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Keep in mind, not all iDevices can be updated — only the iPhone 3GS and later, fourth- and fifth-generation iPod touches, and second- and third-generation iPads are compatible with iOS 6. Furthermore, the updated Siri, one of the biggest draws of the new iOS, will only work with iPhone 4S and iPhone 5, which launches today, the fifth-generation iPod touch, and the latest iPad. Were the update and its new features, of which there are over 200, compatible with all iDevices, Apple would likely have seen even greater numbers of downloads.
Of all iDevice users, iPhone owners were the quickest to upgrade — unsurprising given that the iPhone 4S gets the most new features. But some of those features are being seen as a downside. iDevice users have grown used to Google’s map app. Despite its flaws, most were comfortable with its interface and had little desire to see it go.
With iOS 6, Apple replaces Google maps with its own map application, which has already spurred numerous “hater” sites, like the ironically titled “The Amazing iOS 6 Maps,” a website that has begun to collect examples of the application’s shortcomings. Among those shortcomings are mislabeled landmarks and other points of interest, unlabeled roads, and sloppy 3D rendering in which distinctly varied photos are poorly spliced.
For some, initial reviews of the map apps may be enough to discourage them from upgrading, because as it stands, Google maps have been ostensibly erased from all updated iDevices. Google has yet to create an app that can be downloaded to iDevices as an alternative to Apple’s app, and many smartphone users, in particular, cite GPS navigation as one of the most important factors in their purchasing a mobile device. So important, in fact, that many people rely on their iPhones for directions rather than purchasing separate GPS devices for their cars. One need only look at the stock performance of companies like Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) and TomTom over the last 5 years to see evidence of this.
Of course, there are plenty Apple devotees of the blind faith variety, and they can always be counted on to help Apple set records, like that set with pre-orders for the iPhone 5, which officially launches Friday. The bragging rights from getting an iDevice on day one trump any pragmatic desire to hold off purchase until reviews start rolling in. And really, Apple fans love to complain, but they still tout each update as a marked improvement on the last.
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