The brouhaha over Apple replacing Google Maps in iOS 6 with its own mapping and navigation technology has not changed customers' minds about the iPhone 5, according to a ChangeWave Research survey.
ChangeWave, which polled more than 4,200 consumers in the U.S. and Canada, reported last week that only 10% of those with an iOS 6-powered iPhone said they had experienced a problem with Apple Maps, with the largest chunk of those -- 6% -- acknowledging the issue was "not much of a problem."
Nine out of 10 said they had not experienced any problem.
And while others -- analysts and public relations specialists -- had ranked the Apple Maps issue as a PR mess equal to or even greater than the one in 2010 over "Antennagate," consumers did not.
Two years ago, when ChangeWave polled on Antennagate -- the name Apple's former CEO Steve Jobs gave the uproar when iPhone 4 owners reported that signal strength plummeted and calls were interrupted if they touched the newly-redesigned smartphone in certain ways -- 35% of those surveyed then said the antenna issue was a problem.
In a research note, Paul Carton, director of research at ChangeWave, called the Maps snags "of marginal concern" to iPhone 5 and iOS 6 users.
ChangeWave's data backed that up: When consumers who said they were unlikely to buy an iPhone 5 were asked to provide a reason, none cited the Maps issue.
In contrast, in our poll of 2,242 people 43% answered: "I hate it! Bring back Google Maps". Another 17.5% weren’t happy that "It's full of mistakes, sort it out Apple!"
Nearly a fifth (19.6%) admitted that they hadn't updated to iOS 6 purely on account of Maps. That left just 12.4 saying: "I like it, but it has some inaccuracies" and 7.5% saying: "Love it, it's better than Google Maps."
The other at-launch change that rattled users was Apple's switch to the smaller "Lightning" charging and data port on the iPhone 5, which upset customers who would need to buy adapters to connect their new smartphones to older docking and sound systems.
Many more consumers reported having problems with that move than Apple Maps: Of those who said they were likely to buy an iPhone 5, 68% said the Lightning port was a problem, with a whopping 31% asserting it was "somewhat of a problem," another 31% saying it was "not much of a problem," and 6% calling it a "very big problem."
Only 26% said it was "no problem at all."
Even so, Carton said the two issues "hardly rank as bumps in the road."
Overall, consumers were more likely to purchase the iPhone 5, said Carton, than last year's iPhone 4S at the same time in its release trajectory.
Almost one in five polled -- 19% -- said they were "very likely" to buy an iPhone 5 for themselves or for another person in the next 90 days, while 13% said they were "somewhat likely" to do so, for a combined plan-to-purchase of 32%.
That was significantly higher than the 21.5% who answered the same way in 2011 when asked about the iPhone 4S. The "very likely" difference was even greater: 19% for the iPhone 5 compared to 10% for the iPhone 4S, or nearly double.
The iPhone 5 continues to be in short supply, with shipping delays in the U.S. still at the three-to-four-week range, according to Apple's e-store. That range hasn't budged since shortly after Apple started selling the iPhone 5 on Sept. 21.
While some contend that the problem is greater-than-expected demand and others argue that Apple's production has not kept pace, the iPhone 5's current shipping delay is at least double that of the iPhone 4S at the same point in its timeline.
About three weeks after the iPhone 4S's debut, Apple was telling customers at its online store that orders would ship in one to two weeks.
Survey shows consumers are much less concerned about Apple Maps kerfuffle than 2010's 'Antennagate.' (Image: ChangeWave Research.)
In a separate study, research conducted into Apple's online reputation found that sentiment towards Apple in the days following the iOS 6 release was negative, reports Forbes.
The research found that in the week beginning 21 September there were over 7 million online references to Apple, with over 600,000 referring directly to Maps. Forbes notes that sentiment around Maps was much more negative than general sentiment towards Apple. Where Apple was in the doghouse, Google was receiving brownie points, though. "Critics expressed a clear preference for Google Maps in this commentary, with over 10% of all comments regarding maps being a direct vote for Google," according to the findings. Read more here: Poll claims Apple Maps a hit, analysis says otherwise, and Microsoft sues over Google Maps.