Apple’s lengthy response to the whole location tracking scandal includes this nugget:
Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years.
Unless Apple is talking about internet traffic, we’re reading this to mean that Apple is going to release turn-by-turn navigation on iOS 5, using crowdsourced info to help people navigate traffic.
If so, that would be huge.
- That would be hugely disruptive to the $10 billion GPS market. Turn-by-turn navigation with real time traffic info is one of the last things keeping GPS makers alive. If it becomes a feature on every iPhone, that’s completely disruptive, and distruption is exciting.
- It would one-up Google’s Android in one of its strongest areas, mapping. Google’s mapping products are the best in the world, for consumers at least, and they’re really hard to replicate. So much so that Apple has to use Google Maps as the mapping service on the iPhone, which must be frustrating. One thing Google won’t let the iPhone have, but that Android phones have, is free turn-by-turn navigation.
- It would potentially be a great product. Israeli startup Waze already does GPS navigation using crowd-sourced signals and it’s getting rave reviews. So there’s clearly great potential here. With the magic Apple touch on top, that could be a really great product.
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