Apple Takes On Navigation Companies With New iOS 6 Maps App

Apple Takes On Navigation Companies With New iOS 6 Maps App

The iPhone and iOS halo effect can warm your feet, or it can burn your butt. On the burned side of the equation sits any company that makes mapping and navigation software, or devices. We’re looking at you Google, Tom-Tom, Yahoo!, Garmin, and MapQuest.


With Apple’s new iOS 6, which will be supported by a number of iOS devices including several iterations of the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, Apple may be aiming at Google’s (GOOG) Google Maps, but odds are it will hit GPS device vendors like  Garmin (GRMN), Cobra Electronics (COBR) and TOMTOM NV (TMOAF) even harder. Those companies compete in the portable GPS market as well as the original equipment manufacturer installed GPS market.

Yes, the iPhone halo effect has warmed the feet of many suppliers and developers, companies like Qualcomm, Skyworks, Cirrus Logic, ARM Holdings, and yes, even Samsung, just to name a few. (You can view a comprehensive list of Apple’s suppliers here.)

There are plenty of companies that haven’t experienced the glow however, only the flames. It’s certainly a fact that competing smartphone makers have been scorched by the iPhone. Nokia, Research in Motion, LG, and HTC have all fallen from favor with the buying public since the introduction of the first iPhone back in 2007.

However, hardware isn’t the only category that Apple can burn a company in. By adding various features as standard apps in its iOS software, Apple can bring the flame to quite a few companies collective rear ends. For example, by adding a native “Reminders” app to IOS, Apple threw a wrench in the works for apps like task management app Wunderlist. Apple’s new Passbook will likely impact apps such as Constant Contact’s Cardstar app. Just like Passbook, Cardstar looks to eliminate physical membership and reward cards with a single free app.

The latest category of both software and hardware makers that will be feeling the heat with the release of the iPhone 5, and iOS 6 is mapping and GPS navigation. Apple’s new native Maps app includes 3D mapping, voice based turn-by-turn navigation, and real-time traffic information.

With the huge base of iOS 6 compatible devices, Apple’s new Maps app will likely impact mapping software offered by companies such as Yahoo!, Google and MapQuest, along with GPS navigation hardware makers such as Tom-Tom and Garmin.

Feel the warmth of that iPhone 5/iOS 6 halo, boys? Tell me, is it going to warm your feet, or burn your butt?

  1. JLishere says:

    The only thing going for Apple Maps is that it’s built-in and free. I tested Maps on the GoldMaster build of iOS 6. The geocoders, which help pinpoint street addresses, zip codes, POIs and keywords on the map layer, are just not as accurate as Google Maps (even Nokia Maps). Finding a location by keyword is a frustrating experience. It won’t work unless the keyword matches Yelp’s categories, letter for letter, or a business name that is incorrectly spelled, word for word. The map lacks transit and biking directions. The navigation software also lacks transit, biking and walking navigation (with spoken turn-by-turn directions). Google Maps does live transit navigation too (with vibrating notifications when it’s time to get off a bus or subway station). No outdoor street view or indoor business imagery. No terrain layer to see mountains and ground features. No 3D vector buildings when viewing the map. No personalized maps layers. Geographical details are less accurate too, like back roads, parks, bridges and city details. Searching for a city or region doesn’t return boundaries. The traffic layer is also lacking in a lot of countries, and when it’s available, smaller roads are not covered – only highways. The satellite imagery needs to improve as well. When used in conjunction with turn-by-turn navigation, some regions are either blurry or completely covered by clouds. Anyone who claims Apple Maps is ready for prime-time is mistaken.

  2. MRonin says:

    We’ll see, I’m not going to bet the farm and cancel my MotionX subscription just yet :-). I admit the idea sounds great and from what little I’ve seen it looks great. However much many of their other first gen native apps, I suspect the new maps app will take some time to come up to the same level of features, accuracy, and over all usefulness of many of the software or hardware solutions.

    That said, Google maps is ok in a pinch but the free or low cost alternatives are at least a hundred times better than google maps will ever become. At least so far as google maps on the iOS platform is concerned.

  3. MRonin says:

    Well we’ll see, I’m not going to bet the farm and cancel my MotionX subscription just yet :-). The maps app sounds great and from what I’ve seen it looks great. However like many of Apples first gen iOS apps I suspect it will take a while before it comes up to speed with best software or hardware solutions.

    So far as google maps goes, it’s useful in a pinch. However it’s never been nor will it ever be to the level of the best free or low cost alternatives on the iOS platform. Those alternatives at least a hundred times or more better than Google maps is. With Apple’s maps app I suspect that gulf will just get wider and wider.

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