Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Apple sends Google on its way. Literally.

So, somewhat predictably for Apple devotees, at its WWDC conference on Monday; the technology giant announced that it would launch its own fully functional GPS mapping and navigation system. The service is intended to replace the Google Maps application that has been present on Apple's mobile products since the first iPhone was launched in 2007. The announcement comes just days after Google revealed they would be taking Google Maps for mobile offline, allowing users to download maps for use when not connected to a 3G or WiFi network, and beefing it up with the introduction of off-road 3D mapping views.

It is another step for Apple in their quest towards market domination; since they are notorious for playing things close to their chest where 3rd party applications and software are concerned. It seems as if Apple are aiming to keep all software developed and maintained in-house, and with an impressive 32% market share in the smartphone sector (and growing, since iPhones also count for almost half of all smartphones purchased in the last 3 months), it looks like they may soon be able to dictate exactly what technology consumers have access to and how it works.

The news is something of a kick in the stomach for Google, considering Apple are now planning to integrate omnipresent Facebook even more closely into their iOS 6 and OSX Mountain Lion operating systems. For example, Apple want to enable users to update their Facebook status using voice controls, leaving Google+ in an even bigger struggle against the social networking powerhouse.

For Apple's own mapping system, new features will include photo-realistic 3D flyovers, real-time traffic information as well as turn-by-turn route directions, which in itself is a feature that will, in all probability, set the likes of Tom Tom and Garmin quaking in their boots.

Despite the snubs from Apple, Google is a big enough leader of the mapping and mobile markets to weather the storm, especially considering Apple's GPS navigation offering will lack walking directions and Street View, which personally are tools that have, on occasion, saved my life.

Nonetheless, the war between mobile's two biggest competitors rages on, I know who my money's on.

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