Google Maps Spurs iOS 6 Adoption

Data from mobile advertising networks suggests that many iPhone owners updated their devices to iOS 6 after Google Maps became available again.
 12 Best iPhone, iPad Apps Of 2012
12 Best iPhone, iPad Apps Of 2012
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Google may have unintentionally helped Apple increase the adoption rate of its iOS 6 platform. Two separate advertising companies saw a spike in individual iOS 6 users in the days following Google Maps' availability for the iPhone. The theory is these users decided to avoid iOS 6 (at least for a little while) due to its lack of Google Maps.

Apple released iOS 6 several days ahead of the iPhone 5's launch in September. It is compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad Retina Display, iPad Mini and the fourth- and fifth-generation iPod Touches. The initial uptake of the new operating system was very good.

iOS 6 scored a 25% adoption rate across all iOS devices in the first 48 hours, reaching 100 million of them. (The iPhone 5, iPad Mini and fourth-generation iPad all ship with iOS 6 preinstalled.) By early October, estimates placed iOS 6 adoption at about 60% of all iPhones. Clearly, not everyone updated their iPhone to iOS 6.

One reason some iPhone owners steered clear of iOS 6 was Apple Maps. iOS 6 ditched Google Maps in favor of Apple's navigation software. Phones that had been updated to iOS 6 no longer had access to Google Maps, an application that's been a part of the operating system since 2007. Apple Maps was not the replacement Apple hoped it might be, and many faulted its lack of accuracy. Recently, an Australian police department cautioned that travelers not rely on Apple Maps for navigation and instead use an alternative service.

[ Apple's mobile market share means Google can't dismiss it, but RIM may not be so fortunate. What If Google Ignores BlackBerry 10? ]

Things changed on December 12, however, when Google Maps for the iPhone hit the App Store.

Google recently crowed that its new application saw more than 10 million downloads in the first 48 hours it was available. This correlates with data shared by MoPub, which is a mobile advertising exchange. TechCrunch reports that MoPub saw a massive increase in iOS 6 impressions in the days after Google Maps hit the iPhone.

"We observed since the launch of Google Maps for iOS 6 a 30% increase in unique iOS 6 users, and we think it's related to Google Maps," said MoPub's CEO in an email to TechCrunch. "It verifies the hypothesis that people were actually holding back to upgrade until Google Maps was available."

It's a plausible scenario. Despite the allure of new features, some device owners are more cautious when it comes to system updates. They'll let others adopt first, read the reports of bugs and problems, and then wait for a maintenance update to arrive before upgrading themselves. The case of Apple Maps presented a slightly different angle, but certainly could have convinced some to hold off on iOS 6.

What did you think? Did any of you hold off on updating to iOS 6 because of the Apple/Google Maps issue? Please sound off in the comments below.