This week, Apple unveiled the next generation of its mobile operating system, iOS 6, at their World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). As a developer of apps for the Apple platform, we always pay close attention to these announcements to identify new features and services that can help improve our CoPilot apps.
On this occasion, Apple announced “over 200” new features and upgrades to iOS. Most of these could be best described as incremental: improved iCloud synchronization, a ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode and extended Facebook integration. Some of the new features will only be available to owners of the very latest Apple devices. For example, FaceTime video calling is now possible over the mobile network, but only for owners of an iPhone 4S or 4G iPad. FaceTime remains WiFi only for iPhone 4 and iPad 2 customers. Got an original iPad ? Sorry, iOS 6 is not available for you at all!
The main headline grabber though was undoubtedly Apple’s widely expected announcement of their own Maps service, replacing Google Maps that’s been pre-installed on iPhones since their launch. While the new service is positioned as being based on Apple’s own cartography, it appears that much of the mapping is sourced through TomTom’s licensing division (the artist formerly known as TeleAtlas).For us of course, any mapping and navigation app that is pre-installed on a popular device is a potential competitor to established navigation products like CoPilot. That said, we expect this announcement to further popularize the use of phone-based mapping and location-based services. In some respects Apple may achieve a leadership position, in particular through their seamless integration of voice recognition – although once again only for iPhone 4S and iPad 4G users apparently.
However, as we have seen on Android, we are confident that people will continue to need and want full-featured, on-board iOS navigation apps. We have actually seen increasingly strong demand for CoPilot since Google announced free turn-by-turn navigation, and it’s interesting to contrast the spectacular 3D visuals that both Apple and Google have been promoting with recent studies concerning driver distraction.
In the U.S., we know limited monthly data allowances and spotty coverage remain of concern to our customers, and we strongly believe on-board navigation will remain a requirement for most frequent in-car GPS navigation users. Of course, there’s absolutely no room for complacency and we are more determined than ever to innovate and deliver the premium and dependable in-car experience you would expect from CoPilot.
What’s your reaction to Apple’s new Maps app? What are you most excited to try out in iOS 6? We’d love to hear your comments!