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Apple Maps and iTunes Radio flourish despite critics

Aaron Pressman
Apple Maps is still too much of a mess to even get mentioned at WWDC

Apple’s (AAPL) two big efforts to push aside some of the most popular mobile apps in maps and music have taken a drubbing from critics, but new data from Comscore show just how successful they’ve been.

Apple’s much-derided Maps app is rapidly catching up to Google’s (GOOGL) Maps app, the U.S. market leader. More than 42 million people used Apple Maps in the three months ended in June, compared to 64 million using Google. And iTunes Radio, the Pandora (P) clone that’s seen few improvements since it arrived last year, had almost 41 million U.S. users compared to Pandora’s 69 million. The totals include users on both iPhones and Android, even though Apple doesn't offer its apps on Android.

The successes demonstrate the power of Apple’s brand and its iOS ecosystem. Among all U.S. smartphone users, 44.5%, or 67.4 million, were on Apple’s iPhone. They represented the wealthier side as well, with median annual income of $85,000 compared to $61,000 for Android users.

And even though reviewers may recommend the competition, Apple can promote its own apps by installing them by default on new iPhones, and adding them to older models when users upgrade their software.

Still, not all Apple’s apps are a wild success. Its messaging app is nowhere to be found in Comscore’s top 25, while Facebook (FB) Messenger, Snapchat, Microsoft’s (MSFT) Skype and Kik Messenger all made the list.

App usage appears to follow the same kind of skewed distribution that is simplistically called the 80/20 rule – 20% of customers are responsible for 80% of sales. Two-thirds of all U.S. smartphone users didn’t download any apps in the three months tracked, Comscore said. Another 24% of the population downloaded three apps or fewer. Only 11% of users downloaded four apps or more.

Facebook and Google dominated the top of the charts, unsurprisingly. With more than 115 million unique users, Facebook was the most used app. The company’s Instagram photo app, with 47 million users, ranked 8th, and its Messenger app, with 39 million, ranked 12th.

Google placed Youtube, with 84 million users, second, its Play store third, its search app fourth, its maps app sixth and Gmail seventh.