Apple Maps Is Getting Better Everyday, Literally

A new report says Apple is incorporating user submissions to update its points of interest daily, but can it unseat Google Maps?

Jun 30, 2014 at 3:00PM

Apple Maps Screenshot
Apple Maps is making huge strides. Source: Apple Maps screenshot

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rarely releases a subpar product, and even more rarely does it apologize if it does. But that's exactly what the company did after it released Apple Maps for iOS 6. But since then Apple has made a number of improvements to its native mapping service, and a new report says the updates are coming even faster.

Tomorrow's a new day
According to 9to5Mac, Apple is now taking user-submitted points-of-interest (POI) corrections and using them to update the Maps app every day.

Apparently, Apple hardly ever consulted the submissions up until a few months ago, when it started incorporating the changes once a week. Now though, the company is using the POI submissions to update maps every day.


Google Maps. Source: Google

What's the big deal
Since it's initial release, Apple Maps has made some major improvements and become a strong contender to Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Maps. But despite improvements, the combination of Apple's fumbled launch and the fact that Google's service was already the go-to app has kept Google Maps on top.

Google has used ads in app since 2010, and over the past few years has incorporated those ads further into the service. The company makes about 90% of its revenue from advertising -- although obviously not entirely from its Maps app -- so it has every incentive to keep its app as the dominant direction service for smartphones.

By contrast, Apple doesn't put ads in its app, but rather has the incentive of keeping its iOS users firmly integrated into its ecosystem. Apple wants users to use Maps just as it wants them to use Safari and Mail. Though this doesn't add to the bottom line, it does help keep revenue away from Google. 

Winning the maps game
Apple doesn't allow its Maps app to run on Android devices, so clearly the company can never outpace the usage of Google Maps. But that's not the goal. The focus is getting iOS users to stick with Apple's native apps, and this latest move could definitely help do that.

Despite the lack of revenue, having a solid maps service does add value to mobile customers. As Apple gears up for a new iPhone and possible smart watch launch this fall, the company clearly wants users to tap into its Maps app after they purchase those devices. The last thing Apple wants is to enter the wearable tech segment, only to have its customers bring up directions using Google Maps. 

This is Apple and Google's next battlefield
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Chris Neiger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google (A shares), and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google (A shares), and Google (C shares). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

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Everything else is details. 

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