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More users upgrading to iOS 6 after Google Maps app release

It looks like Apple's approval of a dedicated Google Maps app for iOS has spurred a fairly significant uptick in iOS 6 upgrades.

Early returns on iOS 6 adoption rates after last week's introduction of the app suggested that iPhone users weren't in a rush to upgrade. But new research from MoPub paints a different story - the ad server for smartphone application publishers said this week that it's seen 29 per cent growth in unique iOS 6 users since last Tuesday, the day before the Google Maps app for iOS was released (see chart below).

The MoPub numbers, based on MoPub Marketplace data, come on the heels of a report issued by mobile ad network Chitika covering the first 24 hours after the release of the Google Maps app. Chitika only saw a very slight uptick in iOS 6 adoption in that first 24 hours, from 72.77 per cent to 72.94 per cent.

The newer data indicates that conventional wisdom about some iPhone owners' reluctance to upgrade to Apple's most current mobile operating system was on the money - and lopsidedly centred on a single built-in app, Maps. With iOS 6, Apple replaced the popular Google app as the default Maps app on the iPhone, replacing it with the much-maligned Apple Maps, forcing users to go in search of other mapping apps, or access Google Maps through the browser.

The Apple Maps fiasco was such a black eye for Cupertino that the iPhone maker has reportedly purged several high-ranking executives and engineers specifically for their roles in its inclusion in iOS 6.

Many iDevice users rushed to upgrade to iOS 6 upon its release in September but that was before problems with Apple Maps had been identified. Meanwhile, the iPhone 5 and new iPads come pre-installed with iOS 6 and Apple Maps.

Once issues with the in-house Maps app were identified and publicised, migration to the new mobile OS slowed down. Eleven days after iOS 6 was released, it had been installed on just 60 per cent of iPhones in the US and Canada, Chitika reported in October.

That is, until Apple greenlighted Google Maps as a dedicated homescreen app for iOS 6 last week. Now it appears that many iPhone users who had been reluctant to make the switch from iOS 5 to the newer OS are now belatedly making the move. It may still take some time for owners of older Apple tablets to upgrade, however, the Google Maps app is not yet available for the iPad.