Apple’s maps service seems to be making little progress in luring users away from Google Maps. But to unlock its full potential, work is needed in other areas.
Let’s be honest: no one plans a trip based on a three-dimensional image of Neuschwanstein Castle on a digital map. The 3D models of tourist attractions that Apple is promoting as an improvement to its maps service are nothing but a nice gimmick. It can hardly be expected that these new functions will win cellphone users in Germany from the well-established competitor app Google Maps.
Instead, it seems that the iPhone maps app can fulfill a more profound goal for the company than simply giving users directions. The high-quality maps on which the app is based are themselves valuable. They can also be put to good use by automatic users (read: cars), perhaps one day to bring people to their destination without them having to drive there themselves.
To do that, Apple Car, which to date has consisted mostly of rumors and little substance, has to actually be introduced someday. Otherwise, the billions spent compiling the maps content could easily become an empty investment.