Apple has revealed that it will open a $25 million development center in Hyderabad to work on improving its Maps service.
Apple Maps has been playing catch-up with Google Maps since its launch in 2012. Although it’s more popular with iOS users, this can be mostly attributed to it being the default maps app on all iPhones and iPads. Though Apple Maps has improved a lot in those four years, it’s generally accepted that it’s still a way behind Google in terms of quality and features.
So it’s no big surprise to see Apple opening an office dedicated to improving the Maps experience. During an extended visit to the country, CEO Tim Cook noted that “Apple is focused on making the best products and services in the world,” adding that he was “thrilled” to be able to take advantage of the development talent in India. The move will create 4,000 jobs for the people of Hyderabad, a city already known as a technology center.
Cook sees India as a largely untapped market for Apple, with smartphone adoption growing at a huge rate but iPhones currently accounting for a mere 2% share of the market. This story follows hot on the heels of the news that Apple is also opening a design and development accelerator in Bengaluru to “support engineering talent” amongst India’s growing developer community.
For Apple, this will hopefully all add up to a more significant presence in India. As for the rest of us, let’s just hope those 4,000 engineers make some serious improvements to Apple Maps.