Apple Maps may be leading iOS 6 users into empty parking lots, but there’s one thing it does extremely well: managing data.

That’s right, Apple's new maps app is incredibly efficient, in fact it makes Google Maps look bloated in comparison. Apple’s new maps app as much as five times less data than Google Maps. While this could be the result of each phone’s map “prowess” Onavo claims the difference is more than the punchline of a joke.

Our data experts performed an identical series of activities on Google Maps and Apple Maps that included searching for several US cities, addresses and airports and zooming in and out to locate specific locations. On Google Maps, the average data loaded from the cellular network for each step was 1.3MB. Apple Maps came in at 271KB – that's approximately 80% less data! On some actions, such as zooming in to see a particular intersection, Apple Maps' efficiency advantage edged close to 7X. — Onavo
Apple’s advantage in efficiency is a result of Apple’s use of vector graphics in their Maps app. Apple’s maps can dynamically resize as users zoom in and out without needing to download new data. Google Maps for iOS utilizes raster graphics, which forces the app to download new maps every time the user zooms in or out.

Apple’s new Maps app isn’t great, it’s barely good. But, Apple appears to have built an incredibly data-plan friendly base with a great deal of potential.

Source: Onavo [via Gizmodo]