Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
Apple is set to release a new version of iOS, its mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads.One of the most visible changes users will see: Apple has dropped Google Maps data in favour of TomTom and Waze in its built-in mapping app.
Business Insider spoke with Waze CEO Noam Bardin about mapping services and why Apple decided to launch its own mapping software.
(Bardin did not address whether Waze was a partner, but his company is listed in the app’s copyright notices.)
“One of the things that happened between Google and Apple, I believe at least, is that the value Google was getting out of the relationship was disadvantaging Apple to the point of saying, ‘We’re going to make a huge bet’,” Bardin says. “Their bet is that they can, within two years, build a product that will compete with Google’s 10 years of experience in both search and maps, and navigation, and all of these different things together.”
That’s because maps are a core feature of many mobile apps, and the best way to integrate local ads is to display them on a map. According to Bardin, Apple hopes that its app can bring in more money than it did through its revenue share with Google.
Bardin tells us that maps is the second-most-used product after mail on mobile devices, meaning that there is a huge opportunity to make money.
“The importance of the map in the new mobile ecosystem is really what drove this decision [that] ‘we have to own this component’,” Bardin says.
But Bardin says that Apple has taken a huge bet by partnering with TomTom, a maker of traditional GPS hardware that’s morphing into a mapping-data provider.
Both TomTom and Waze are listed in Apple’s copyright notice as providers of map data. But Bardin’s observations suggest that Apple is relying predominantly on TomTom.
“Apple went out and partnered with the weakest player,” Bardin says. “They’re now coming out with the lowest, weakest data set and they’re competing against Google, which has the highest data set.”
Bardin notes how with Google Maps, it’s unlikely that you won’t find something, as Google has invested a lot of time and resources into their product.
“What’s going to happen with the Apple maps, is that you’re literally not going to find things,” Bardin says. “When you do find them, they might be in the wrong place or position geographically. And if you do have it, the route to it may not be the optimal route.”
Bardin says that a lot of mobile app developers have reached out to Waze to see if they can integrate Waze directly into their apps, bypassing Apple’s.
“They’re saying many things that used to work on Google don’t work on Apple,” Bardin says. “Going forward now, we’re going to see this around maps, it’s the question of how fast Apple can work with their partners to update the data and how good the user experience will be.”
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