Apple unveiled iOS 6 at WWDC Monday and a number of key features were outlined that will see their final release with the iPhone 5 in September. Many of these features have been hinted at before, but of the more than 200 updates made with iOS 6 the most interesting are the new Maps app, Facebook integration and changes to web browsing; all of which seem to have been designed to hit Google where it hurts.
No More Google Maps
Firstly is the decision to drop Google Maps in favour of a new Apple designed Maps app. Apple Maps will include 3D buildings in many major cities, turn by turn navigation and voice controls provided by Siri. The app will also be able to crowdsource traffic data from iOS users providing it with an edge over Google’s navigation services. For many years Google Maps has been one of the company’s key services with very little in the way of competition – and the decision by Apple to replace it with Maps will deprive Google with one of its main methods of interacting with iOS users.
Even though Google Maps is being removed as the standard mapping app for future iPhone models, there is a chance that Apple may have it removed from the App Store altogether for “duplicating existing functionality”. It does not matter that Google Maps predates Apple Maps on iOS, as Apple maintains complete control over the apps it makes available and has a proven track record of removing competing services.
Safari Tracking Updates
What is likely to cause more harm to Google however, is Apple’s plans to add Do Not Track functionality to Safari. This would prevent major online advertisers such as Google from monitoring peoples’ web browsing for more targeted advertising. Although Google would still be able to provide advertising on iOS powered devices, the effectiveness of these adverts would be greatly diminished.
This is particularly troublesome for Google as around 80% of its mobile advertising revenue is thought to come from iOS users, rather than owners of Android powered devices. Although Google still derives most of its advertising revenue from desktop computing, the ever increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets for web browsing is likely to make this loss more keenly felt in the future.
Rather than a direct swipe at Google’s mobile advertising profits this is most likely a combination of Apple abiding by new EU laws regarding cookies as well as satisfying user concerns over personal privacy; the fact that it harms a major competitor within the industry is just a bonus.
One of the biggest updates introduced to iOS 6 has been the plans to integrate Facebook into almost every facet of the interface. Users will be able to share to Facebook directly from apps, ‘like’ apps in the app store and also find out which apps their friends are liking. This move is likely to increase the number of apps being used and shared on iOS, as well as providing Facebook with a firmer footing in the mobile industry.
iOS 6 will automatically pull in contacts and phone numbers from Facebook as well as add Facebook events into the calendar. Users will be able to share their location via Facebook due to its integration with Apple’s new Maps app. Facebook will also be interwoven with Games Center, iTunes and Siri and will have notifications appear in the notification center.
Facebook is currently Google’s biggest competitor in the world of online advertising and having the backing of the world’s largest technology company is likely to bring advertising benefits to Facebook at the expense of Google. Although they may be coincidental, the combined effect that these updates will have on Google, and in light of the on-going feud with Apple regarding Android, suggest that Apple is trying to minimise any benefit Google derives from iOS users. With Google making most of its smartphone profit from iPhone users, the recent changes announced for iOS may have major implications for the future of Android too.
This post was written by our friend Simon at Best Mobile Contracts News.