Apple's iPhone 5 Google map flap highlights mobile OS divergence

Apple's iPhone 5 Google map flap highlights mobile OS divergence

Summary: Just when mobile operating systems were all starting to look alike Apple and Google are separating in iOS. The end result is real differentiation between mobile platforms.


Apple's iPhone 5 maps aren't anywhere near as good as Google's Maps, but the two parties are trying to separate since they compete to be the dominant mobile operating system. Users are in the middle, but one great side effect is that mobile operating systems are carving out unique features.

A warped Apple map decision sets apart iOS and Android.

In other words, the road to mobile OS commodity-ville has been given a detour. Let's face it. Mobile operating systems were getting boring and starting to look alike. The news today is that Google chairman Eric Schmidt said the company is not rushing to provide a Google Maps app for the iPhone 5, according to Reuters.

Of course, Google isn't. Why would Google rush to offer Maps to the iPhone 5? Sure, there's ad revenue and usage. But any iPhone 5 loss there is probably made up with a real differentiating feature for Google's Android.

Also: AU: Woz: Apple Maps disappointing, but flaws 'not that severe' | Asia: iPhone 5 Map 'fixes' Japan-China island dispute | Perlow: The innocence of Android fans | Apple iOS 6 map flap gives Google geolocation advantage | Nokia comes out swinging after Apple's rocky iOS 6 Maps launch | EU: iPhone 5 launch: More than 1,000 people needlessly block London's Regent Street | Apple takes Maps to the precipice

Here's how this map flap will play out:

  • Apple goes with its own mapping, but can't devote the resources Google can. Is Apple really going to drive cars around with cameras to send data to StreetView? Didn't think so.
  • Eventually, iOS Maps will improve and catch up to some degree.
  • In the meantime, Google will tout its Maps for Android and the integration that goes with it. For Google, Android's mapping and navigation is a compelling feature that will keep many of us with the platform.
  • Toss in Google's Gmail integration on Android and you have unique characteristics.
  • Apple still has its cloud, music and content integration.
  • The two platforms will be differentiated and do things really well and others just ok. Ultimately, users will pick platforms based on unique characteristics.

Now that's just Apple vs. Google. Let's toss Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 into the mix. Microsoft's mobile platform has tiles, unique features and is likely to plug into Office nicely. Windows 8 will connect all the screens on your devices.

Research in Motion's BlackBerry 10 platform---long overdue by the way---looks solid and could carve out a messaging niche.

Add it up and there will be four platforms with unique characteristics and potentially winning formulas. Best of all, users will have choice. In some cases, those choices may be difficult since you'll have to put a value over something like Maps over entertainment and app selection. Picking platforms may be difficult for some folks, but that's a good side effect compared to a bunch of "me too" platforms.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Apple, Google, iPhone, Smartphones

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  • Interesting, but

    The key point is that iOS is inferior. Interesting angle, though.
    Tim Acheson
    • I wish you would see the point

      The point isn't IOS is inferior. That's a blanket statement that denotes ignorance and bias. IOS is a lot more refined and superior in many ways, but I can see how some might prefer Android.
      I don't like Android in general because I distrust google for a lot of good reasons, it's not real open source and you have to root it half the time to get a current OS and security updates, and risk voiding your warranty in many cases for something that should be so basic.
      Plus, from a technical standpoint iPhone 4 and up is just more secure with the hardware integrated AES. Try encrypting and breaking into an Android and then try the same thing with a locked iPhone...
      But for everyday use I can see how some would choose android, but blanket stating IOS as inferior is just the talk of children who don't care about details.
      • Trust is very important

        and in the same way you distrust Google, you trust Apple? Really.
        • Yes

          Google is orders of magnitude scarifier than Apple. It's very simple: Apple makes money from you when you buy one of their things, Google makes money off you when they sell personal information about you that you may or may not have given freely with foreknowledge and consent.
          • Blind Obedience

            twilightmoon, You are an Apple Fanboy. Try thinking for yourself.
          • What part is untrue

            Before you call someone blind listen to yourself. Google is the one driving around scanning wifis, collecting personal data, emails and passwords and turning it into profit by selling your profile to others. Apple is trying to make products you will buy, while google is trying to turn monitoring and profiling you into profit.
            It's just the facts and economics of the situation. Is my privacy worth the price of a hamburger, that's everyone's own call. Buy a product or be the product. It's not that complicated and comes down to preference.
          • And Apple is the company recording

            and analyzing everything that is said to Siri.
            Both Google and Apple are gathering info on your travels via GPS and web usage.
            Google, Microsoft, Sony, APPLE and almost every other company on the planet with a EULA have clauses in thosae EULAs that allow them to sell any or all collected info to "Business partners".

            By the way, there is no evidence Google ever collected any passwords or private data with their vehicles, just SSIDs and encryption type in use, the exact same info you gather anytime you scan for in-range wifi hotspots.
            So, I guess that means you, and anyone else that has used wifi, are as evil as Google.
          • And since many refuse to believe:

            Cut and pasted from the iOS6 EULA at

            " When you use Siri or Dictation, the things you say will be recorded
            and sent to Apple in order to convert what you say into text and to process your requests."

            And in bold:
            "By using Siri or Dictation, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its subsidiaries’ and agents’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing, and use of this information, including your voice input and User Data, to provide and improve Siri, Dictation, and dictation functionality in other Apple products and services."

            Guess who gets to decide what consitiutes "improving Siri"? Hint: It ain't you.
          • That's obvious

            If I use Siri, I am sending them my voice data to analyze. Thats common sense. If you can't see how different that is to giving freebie spyware to sell info to advertisers (though you can choose to do so with iAd), and driving around taking pictures and recording people's emails, password, medical records and anything not locked down, to coorolate who's doing what, to people not even using their services nobody can make you understand till you actually choose to..,
          • Just for you OSSOUP

            I used Siri as an example, but here's more blinder removing excepts.

            Also cut and pasted from iOS6 EULA:
            "By using Maps, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its subsidiaries’ and agents’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing, and use of this information, to provide and improve the Maps features and service, and other Apple products and services."

            "By using the iOS Software, you agree that Apple may transmit, collect, maintain, process and use these identifiers for the purpose of providing and improving the iMessage service."

            "4. Consent to Use of Data.
            (a) Diagnostic and Usage Data. If you opt in to diagnostic and usage collection, you agree that Apple and its subsidiaries and agents may collect, maintain, process and use diagnostic, technical, usage and related information, including but not limited to information about your iOS Device, computer, system and application software, and peripherals, that is gathered periodically to facilitate the provision of software updates, product support and other services to you (if any) related to the iOS Software, and to verify compliance with the terms of this License. Apple may use this information, as long as it is collected in a form that does not personally identify you, to provide and improve Apple’s products and services. If you have opted in and have Location Services turned on, the location of your device may also be sent to help Apple analyze wireless or cellular performance issues (e.g. the strength or weakness of a cellular signal in a particular location). To enable Apple’s partners and third party developers to improve their software, hardware and services designed for use with Apple products, Apple may also provide any such partner or third party developer with a subset of diagnostic information that is relevant to that partner’s or developer’s software, hardware and/or services, as long as the diagnostic information is in a form that does not personally identify you."
          • So Google drove down your street once.

            Apple collects data on you the entire timeyour phone is powered on.
            See my post on more pieces of the iOS6 Eula.
          • Improving SIRI

            I would love to be part of improving SIRI. I would love it if my commands were more frequently interpreted correctly. Recently I was looking for the Brea library and SIRI could not understand me saying Brea, kept thinking I was saying Braille Library.

            You can read EULAs and assume they say the whole story, or you can look at all the facts in context. What you are doing is like reading the warning labels on a hair drier and assuming people's primary use for a hair drier is in a bath tub.

            If you are ignoring the fact that Google's primary business model is selling the personal data they have collected on you while Apple wants you to buy stuff from them, then you really can't credibly discuss this topic. You are simply a blind man insisting with me that an elephant is a snake.
          • Is Apple selling the information they gather to others?

            like Google is doing? Or are they using it to provide you with the service you are requesting of them?
          • "just SSIDs and encryption type in use"

            oh...thats ok then...pheeeww!
          • And emails and passwords and medical records

            They "accidentally" programmed it that way...
          • No, actually there is

            They were busted, admitted it and said it was an accident, programming a payload sniffer that logged and recorded passwords, emails, etc... They were busted sniffing because other countries noticed the obvious and still have privacy laws people care about. They were busted and have admitted it. Do you really need more proof than that to just admit it yourself?

            And if they do this to people not even using their services, how do you think that device integrated into their services works?
            Apple does analyze Siri if you choose to use it? I probably will use it because Apple, just by history and business model gets more trust because they weren't the ones driving around spying on everyone not even using their services to sell random people's private profile info to advertisers. They actually make products that sell well, and don't need to give you freebie spyware.
          • They did admit it

            But they didn't erase all the stolen data.
          • open your wallet

            Google doesn't ask you to hand over an open invitation on your credit card when you sign up a google account.
            Apple does when you create an Apple ID.
            is it any wonder Apple makes more money with itunes store.
          • Sorry to rain on your parade

            You don't need a credit card to create an Apple ID....just buy a $20 iTunes card...that is all you need. At least get your facts right please.
          • BUY a $20 itunes card

            prepay Apple. even better!