Apple has already told the world that they will be disconnecting their Maps app from Google’s servers with the release of iOS 6, but they’ve recently announced that they also plan on redirecting all third-party app requests to their own mapping servers. This means that the majority of mobile maps traffic will be taken from Google, in a strategic move to rule the smartphone industry.
The release of the original iPhone Maps app acted as a touch-friendly interface for exploring Google’s online maps, back in 2007. Google, however, has introduced Android as competitive threat, due to the mapping compatibility with both operating systems. Apple is now attempting to limit its dependence upon the Google partnership for iOS maps.
Apple has begun working on its own maps server for iOS 6. This is quite a substantial move, considering the amount of time that it has taken for Google to get their mapping service to its standing today. Google has successfully taken competitors head-on before, such as Microsoft and their release of search-engine Bing, although Microsoft has limited presence on the internet and mobile devices.
Apple, however, easily makes up more than half of the mobile device population, including the majority of tablets with the iPad, a firm grasp on music players with the iPod, and is demanding the spotlight in smartphone devices with the iPhone. Also, it’s fairly important to add that Apple don’t intend on replacing Google’s maps, but is simply launching plans to provide and deliver significantly better mapping services. The introduction of Apple’s new Maps app in iOS 6 will remove Google’s version from all the mobile devices running iOS and that have made the decision to upgrade. Apple is extending the iOS 6 upgrades back to 2009-era iPhone 3GS users, which means that virtually all iOS users can and will upgrade.
AppleInsider reported that:
“Apple won’t be supporting the original 2010 iPad in iOS 6, but that entire year’s production only represents a fifth of the installed base. And by the time Apple begins offering iOS 6, it will have sold more new iPad models in just the fall quarter than it sold in all of 2010.”
Not only will Apple be supplying map data to its own iOS Maps app, but all other applications that require map data, whether it is creating their own custom maps, plotting directions or pinpointing locations, will now automatically get data from Apple rather than Google. Already existing apps will “just work” with Apple’s maps, regardless of previous coding.
While Apple is distancing itself further and further away from Google, they are inching themselves closer to Google’s other rivals, including Yelp, the review service that Siri already relies upon for information and user reviews in the US.
In iOS 6, the new Maps app will provide Yelp information, in regards to reviews and user submitted photos. Google Places is a similar service to Yelp, and there were intentions to use the popularity of Google Maps to promote Places, and totally replace Yelp altogether.
“By giving Yelp a large new audience with Siri last year, and expanding that partnership to provide local reviews and check-ins in iOS 6 Maps, Apple is not just forging a competitive partnership to bolster its own offerings, but also lending critical support to Google’s competitor, a clear shot that targets the very revenue centers of Google’s mapping plans.”
I’m in agreement with Apple’s plans to create their own mapping service, from a business perspective. They’re close to effectively taking on a virtual monopoly that no other company has had the revenue or guts to challenge. The maps themselves, however, is something that I’m still not totally sure of. Google has had plenty of years in development and research, and are currently the leaders in this department. I still feel that Google are more reliable in the mapping service, although I’m still open to the idea of Apple changing my mind. Do you guys think that Apple are making the right decision in taking on Google, once again?