June 14, 2012
Apple's Big Move Away from Google Maps
Earlier this week, Apple announced that it would ditch Google's popular mapping software and go with it's own mapping software dubbed Apple Maps which will be rolled out in the iOS 6.0 release. This post will not focus on the feature set comparison but try to discuss the shift this move will have on the mobile atomsphere.
The fact of the matter is, Apple needed to launch it's own mapping software. It's future growth heavily depends on it. Roughly one year ago, Google made it very clear to it's strategy on Android by only granting some of the best features of Google Maps to Android OS, ie. Google MyMaps (custom maps), Turn-by-Turn Navigation, Caching local maps, etc. At that point, the gloves were coming off; I imagine the folks at One Infinite Loop started to evaluate a strategy to combat the mapping front.
The bigger issue, however, is how will Apple compete with Google with rest of their software offerings. Google has geared itself with a series of decent web-based applications and contents over the years. From Search, Maps, YouTube, Docs, Reader, Google Talk, Music, News, Calendar, Contacts, etc., it threaded everything together with one final blow which is the Gmail accounts. Having Apple Maps is just one of the many things Apple desperately needed to compete with Google at the software level.
For now, Apple reigns supreme from it's impeccable delivery of hardware & software design. iPhones, in my opinion, still offers the best end user experience for a smartphone. However, with Samsung and Motorola hot on it's heels, the gap is closing. Apple has to react faster to make the software/application portion of its portfolio stand out.
PS - A counter point for Apple would be that it's huge success in App Store allows for 3rd party software/applications to help Apple from losing it's ground. Only time will tell if this is eough!