There is a lot of excitement surrounding the announcement earlier this week regarding the new Maps app that Apple is including in iOS 6. What may bet he most interesting part of the news is that while the app was built from scratch by Apple, the content is being provided by a whole team of trusted industry experts, not the least of which being Microsoft!
With turn-by-turn navigation, real-time traffic data and user reviews from Yelp it seems all but obvious that there are some behind-the-scenes relationships making it all happen. It seems that TomTom and OpenStreetMap are lending a hand by providing map data from around the world –but other sources of content like Waze, Intermap, LeadDog and DigitalGlobe are also being utilized.
This approach makes sense. Apple is focusing on their core competencies while relying on the expertise of others in the industry (who have been doing it far longer than Apple could ever hope to without actually purchasing and absorbing one or more of those companies).
Even better yet, Apple has made it clear that they are opening up the API to developers so they can create interfaces for transit apps. This means local authorities can create tailored apps (with routing and detailed navigation functionality) that directly address their needs (consider this could apply to things like public transportation, geo-caching, biking or hiking). The added bonus is that Forstall promised that Apple would integrate and feature those custom applications from directly within the Maps app in iOS 6.
So should Google take it personally? Maybe? Though really the only change is that the native Maps app within iOS will no longer pull maps data from Google’s service. Any other Google iOS apps will continue to work using their own data.
Now if only Apple and Microsoft could get together on another big technology (Kinnect, motion detection)… oh and if we’re creating a wish list I would like iMessage and FaceTime to combine much like the functionality we see with Skype (Microsoft’s latest adopted child).