Apple is rumored to be drawing one of the final battle lines that will truly separate Google and Apple, or (Android v. iOS if you prefer) in the world of mobile.
It’s about maps. Maps and the ability to get around while out and about are one of the most critical functions of any mobile device. Until now the backend of Apple’s maps function was Google Maps. With the introduction of iOS 6 in the near future that will end. According to 9 to 5 Mac
According to trusted sources, Apple has an incredible headline feature in development for iOS 6: a completely in-house maps application. Apple will drop the Google Maps program running on iOS since 2007 in favor for a new Maps app with an Apple backend. The application design is said to be fairly similar to the current Google Maps program on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but it is described as a much cleaner, faster, and more reliable experience.
It’s the last line of that description that rings of the Apple way, ‘cleaner, faster and more reliable.’ In addition, there will be a 3D side that is supposed to be Apple-tastic, as well. Of course, that reads well but until it is seen that is purely an opinion. This will be an interesting test to see just what level of quality is deemed acceptable in the new Job-less era of Apple.
There is little doubt that Apple could produce something that is, even if they stubbed their toe, very good. The have made three company acquisitions in the mapping space and they are using that talent to create a complete mapping database. Add that to the fact that they, at times, have had more cash on hand than the US government and you have to feel confident they will produce.
What was not discussed, however, is what really lies at the heart of strong mapping offer in today’s world. Sure, Apple might be able to make a cleaner, faster more reliable map but the data that goes on top of it (i.e. Google Place Pages and other information) is what rounds out a map experience. As we have seen with Google, creating the infrastructure to build and manage the additional information that enhances a map experience is the catch. Notice I didn’t say support because Google doesn’t support much of anything in their maps ecosystem unless you are a super user or the squeakiest wheel.
So what will be on top of this incredible map offering? Will it be more than the name, address, phone number and simple directions? What other services will enhance the maps offering? When I am traveling by car to a strange place the Layers function in the Android Maps offering is great to look for restaurants, gas stations etc etc. Google Offers is now being offered in a Groupon Now like delivery. Will Apple’s maps now bring Apple into areas that are not their core competency?
Let’s face it. Apple can do whatever it wants because it can buy whatever it wants. What will it do to truly out pace Google Maps? Any ideas? If you could ask for anything what would you like a maps service do on an iOS device?