Jun 18, 2012
Apple had their big World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco this past week, and the big announcement from the show (besides the Retina Display Macbook Pro) was iOS 6. It’s another update in the vein of iOS 5, which adds a lot of small features that build up to a very useful cohesive whole.
However, the biggest and most buzzed-about change is that Apple ditched Google as their maps service provider in exchange for a licensed one from TomTom, that integrates their own 3D mapping technology.
It’s been a curious relationship between the two companies because of the fact that Google is a competitor to Apple as well. Or at least, they power the competition, and they’re the easiest arch-nemesis to focus on. Samsung may be huge, but are still a fraction of the smartphone market (though they too have an interesting relationship with Apple as Samsung produces displays for Apple devices) and just part of the Android dynamo.
Google remains a service provider, and yet, as the biggest competition to Apple, it was always curious that Google always had this hand in iOS that Apple didn’t have in Android, in part because the fact that Apple is such a vertically integrated company. Apple might be wise for themselves to make this shift as far away from Google as they can get, because if they are this enemy, still laying in bed with them is a mistake. Factors such as Google service integration won’t go away because Google’s hooks are too deep, but Apple has iCloud services set up for just that purpose, to start weaning people away from the clutches of Google, and into their own clutches.
The impact this will have on Google may be more behind-the-scenes than anything, purely revenue-based than anything else. They could try to match Apple’s mapping solution in terms of features and potentially outclass it, but there’s only so far that can go. In fact, as our own Jeff Scott notes, the iOS 6 maps are currently feature-deficient in some areas compared to the Google maps.
The move stings of pride as much as anything else â€“ Apple may be doing some things differently now, but Steve Jobs’ vision still guides the company, and the anti-Android sentiment still plays out, in their tactics both in launching products and in the courtroom. Apple may just be trying to straighten out their relationships, now that they’re the big dog, and don’t want to be pushed around any more, though they still have many ties to those they simultaneously compete against.