Each year, Apple fans wait with eager anticipation for the new iOS to become available for download on the iPhone. This year, iOS 14 has arrived with some really great new features, including customizable home screens, leading to many Apple fans showing off what they’ve done to theirs with their newfound superpowers (while Android users point and laugh, saying “We’ve been doing this for years!”). One new feature on the horizon appears to be right up our alley on WebPunch Street and In Your Corner Boulevard, found in Apple Maps, and it involves the future of ratings and reviews within the app.
9to5Mac reported recently that Apple appears to be shying away from the use of third-party rating and review providers such as Yelp or TripAdvisor in its Maps platform. Beta users of iOS 14, who used the operating system before its public release, found that Apple introduced a new rating system that lets users recommend a place using a thumbs up or thumbs down. Users also have the ability to upload photos of the points of interest they are visiting, which will be reviewed by Apple’s team before appearing in the Maps app. Of course, Apple Maps will only be able to offer the photos option to users age 13 and older.
This is an interesting move on Apple’s part, as previously, users would have to use one of the third-party apps to contribute to Apple Maps in any sort of meaningful way or interact with the ratings and reviews listed for a location. Users would also be taken out of Apple Maps and into the other app or be required to download it when trying to read beyond the first few reviews. It’s rather frustrating to want more information about a place or business while planning a drive on Apple Maps, only to be kicked over to the Yelp app or the App Store to go and download it to the phone. With Apple introducing its own rating system, it could mean that the reliance on platforms such as Yelp, where it pulls much of its data, could be going away entirely, and that Apple will soon have its own ecosystem. We all know Apple loves having its own ecosystem (he says as he writes this on his MacBook Pro while playing music from his iPhone while listening through his AirPods and his Apple Watch fervently reminds him that it’s “Time to stand!”).
What could this mean for the future of ratings and reviews? For one, it could be that developing their own system in-house and taking ratings out of the hands of Yelp means that Apple isn’t too keen on Yelp these days. It’s no surprise, either; Yelp doesn’t exactly have the best reputation online (which makes me wonder… is there somewhere one could go to write Yelp a bad Yelp review?). With the pandemic, Yelp is having its own struggles, having to lay off 1,000 employees back in April, though they did say in July they are bringing them back. Google Maps consistently sees people relying on its services more than Yelp for reviews. It’s possible that Apple has seen the free real-estate of online reviews that Google has been eating up and decided to take things into their own hands. And, just to bring this full-circle, we all know how Apple likes to follow Google’s lead at times (I’m looking at you, customizable home screens).
Will Apple take things a step further and develop their own review system? Will we be looking at reviews on Apple Maps soon? Don’t count any of these possibilities out; the Apple empire is extending its reach every single day, and a full-fledged online review platform may be next.
Jon Frisch is a Content Creator at WebPunch. He lives in Pasadena, CA, and spends his time writing and recording music, playing guitar, and performing. He also just got married recently! He is the fun uncle, or funcle, if you will, to ten awesome neices and nephews. Jon loves a good karaoke night, writing comedy scripts, taking road trips, and finding the best coffee shops in town. Jon never passes up the opportunity for a good pun or a lame-dad joke.