Apple announced a bunch of new stuff yesterday. You can read all about it at that link, but I want to call one thing out: Apple’s switch to its own mapping software. Previously, maps on iPhone had been a kind of Apple/Google hybrid, but now Apple owns the whole thing. On Google’s Android phones, mapping has long included turn-by-turn navigation, and now iPhone will have that built-in once the next version of phone software gets pushed to users.
The reason this is significant is advertising. The expectation for mobile advertising was that users would finally be getting relevant ads because their phone would know exactly where they are. As Jean-Louis Gassée points out, mobile ads have so far not lived up to this expectation, and there’s reason to believe they never will:
When I hear that there’s a mother lode of advertising revenue in location-based ads that are pushed to my mobile phone as I stroll down Main Street (with my permission…I hope), ads that offer succulent deals in the stores and restaurants I’m about to pass, I wonder: Do we want barkers on our devices? Is this the game changer for mobile advertising, yet another kind of spam? […]
This is spot-on. The only time I’m receptive to my phone giving me a suggestion about what to do is when I’m looking on my map (or on Yelp) to see where I am and what’s nearby. It’s at that point when my phone could show me an ad that might actually get my attention. This means that maps is probably the most lucrative piece of advertising software on a mobile phone, something vital to an advertising-based company like Google, and Apple just took that away.
Also, too: if you buy Gassée’s take on mobile ads, there’s more bad news for newspapers, because the prospects for making money with ads on a smartphone are worse than those on the web, even though people are starting to spend far more time on their mobile devices.
You kids and your wacky wristwatch TVs…
The Other Bob
I just got an iPhone 4s. If anyone out there is thinking of upgrading just for Siri – don’t bother. The TV ads pretty much show all it can do. Beyond those advertised functions, the voice prompts are as annoying as any automated answering system.
After trying to get the damn thing to send a simple e-mail I wanted to punch this Siri lady in the face.
Oh, just because it’s obnoxious doesn’t mean they won’t try to do it.
I can recall attack ads from two movies: Back to the Future II (a holographic shark leaped out in front of Michael J. Fox from a “Jaws” marquee) and Minority Report (Tom Cruise being greeted in a department store by ads which scanned his retina and presented him personal sales offers).
I see plenty of popup ads on web pages that remind me of both of those, that hover in front of the content and follow you as you scroll. And on my “smart” phone, I’m frequently unable to dismiss them and get to the page I wanted.
So yeah, kids. That vision of the future is coming.
Bet someone is already mobile equivalent of ad-block plus.
How deeply weird is it that Apple iPhones have apparently been useless as GPS navigation devices, and will remain so until the next version (at least out of the box, without paying for what I understand are expensive, monthly-subscription apps or phone company services)? I had a cheap Samsung proprietary-OS touchscreen phone almost five years ago that couldn’t do most of what the iPhone did and lacked most of its capabilities, but managed to beat it in this regard; it was incredibly useful, especially when traveling. And the navigation system on my Android phone is a thing of beauty.
Great Bird of the Galaxy forfend that someone should actually have to take 2 seconds to look in a shop’s window or read a sign.
Sounds way too much like the digital version of the “Check it out!” shouters outside of certain sleazy joints.
The cocooning of mobile phone users continues apace.
I pay a minimal amount for my landline, thanks, and thus am not bombarded by advertising every time I pick the handset up from its cradle.
@The Other Bob:
The ads are killing me. The message I get is that things are so sad even world-class celebrity actor John Malkovich is sitting home alone in his gray apartment talking to his cell phone. At least Samuel L. Jackson is making gazpacho.
I still do not understand this switch. Who is doing the location based ads? Apple? And are they providing the servers with all the mapping data too, or are they just providing the front end and outsourcing the back end?
I ask because there is no way that Apple is prepared for this. While they are fantastic with hardware and user experience. they have made almost zero investment in data mining and cloud based services. They are completely outclassed by Google in this regard. When I see Apple and Google here at career fairs it is laughable how much better Google is in recruiting the top talent (particularly in machine learning for the ads division).
And I say this as a total Apple fanboi.
How exactly did Google “blow it”? From the overly dramatized accounts I’ve heard, Steve Jobs was pissed off that Google had “copied” the iPhone with Android, so Apple… copied Google Maps.
If I had the choice of owning a platform with a big chunk of the market or having an app preinstalled on a platform whose owner could get pissy and take it away at any point, I’d definitely take the first.
An unexpected reality that Facebook is experiencing.
I generally don’t use my phone for much beyond actual communication, simply because a 3.5″ screen doesn’t seem to make most apps worth the bother.
To be fair, there is evidence this is true. The Google phone was going in a particular direction early on. This direction changed when Schmidt, who was on the board of Apple at the time, saw an early prototype of the iPhone. If true, this is a pretty clear cut case of conflict of interest.
Firefox add-ons rock. Haven’t been exposed to an ad on the internet in like 10 years.
Recommended add-ons (readily configurable by you to your preferences after simple install): AdBlock Plus, NoScript, Ghostery, Better Privacy, CookieSafe.
@Warren Terra: My iPhone 4 is a great GPS device, I spent $6 on a mapping app that has access to all sorts of different map data, including topographical, and allows me to download maps in advance, awesome for international travel.
PS Want turn by turn spoken directions? Free MapQuest app.
Welcome to Life
@Redshift: An ad company losing the best way to serve ads on a phone used by, what, 1/3 of the population over some kind of pissing match has screwed something up. I’ll leave it to the tech journalists to figure out what.
@Warren Terra: I have a Galaxy Nexus and it’s interesting that a lot of the features introduced yesterday have been on Android for a long time (turn-by-turn nav is a good example), or for a while (the ability to send a quick text to reply to an incoming call). Yet all you hear from Apple pundits like Jon Gruber is how Google stole the design for Android. The whole “who stole what” conversation is just dumb, but if you’re going to push it, prepare for others to laugh at you.
Gauche? Perhaps, but one can configure to let chosen sites through.
Personally, I see little difference between blocking ads online and fast-forwarding through them on the VCR.
Put in my time working for a major ad agency for several years in the 80s, so have probably been overexposed to more ads than most.
Will Google maps be an app available from iTunes, or will Apple not allow it?
The future? Imagine a boot stomping on a smartphone, forever. fuckin’ ads.
Is Google thinking of this as an ad company or a phone company? Because thinking of it as a phone company, they are watching Apple shoot themselves in the foot. Apple’s MO has been to outsource anything not core to the user experience. They have made zero investment in cloud tech and that garbage iCloud shows how far, far they are behind in this arena. They are going to have to spend a lot of money to catch up to Google.
I generally don’t mind and don’t make an effort to block ads that just sit there; if it’s just a question of where I point my eyeballs, big deal. Pop-ups and pre-video ads are another story, of course.
@rlrr: That’s the million dollar question. Google had been keeping turn-by-turn nav exclusive to Android as a competitive advantage while Apple didn’t have it. Now that Apple has it, Google might release a turn-by-turn app. But my understanding is that the App Store rules require developers to use Apple’s ad service, so Google wouldn’t get as big a cut (or any cut?) of the ads, which is why Google Maps exists.
@Walker: Google is an ad company. All of Google’s technology, Android included, exists to get a Google ad in your face.
“If you’re not paying for it, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.”
OT, y’all seen this?
Arizona Congressional Candidate Blasts ‘Obamacare’ With a Shotgun
“You know what Arizona needs? More political references to shooting stuff”
Apple whining about intellectual theft is always worth a mild chortle. The switch in data platforms (Google to Open Street isn’t it?) also has implications for all the store owners. I’m pretty sure both street+poi (Point of Interest) systems are mostly crowd-sourced (meaning, not NavTeq) so now individual shop-owners will probably have to fuss (at least for a while) with two places to post their sales, etc. and keep their data relevant and accurate (Apple/Open Street and Google). NavTeqs data might be a third place fo rthem to fuss with for the temporally volatile stuff — although I think by now NavTeq’s market is probably nearly exclusively in car-based systems although last I heard they were moving towards a 3d POI system in certain areas (handling floor by floor data in large buildings). Given that Google data serves both Web and phone and is already well established, I’m expecting the underlying data Apple uses to be a little crap at least for time-sensitive POIs for a while (as everybody in the store-front end of things catches up – there may end up being room for companies that aggregate and push such time-stamped data to the different platforms). I’m pretty such I saw basic POI data in OpenSteet the few times I used their web-system but there’s been no reason for them to be attractive to storefronts yet.
The mobile ads only really work if you either have GPS turned on or location tagged wifi signlas.
GPS is always off unless I need driving directions.
It has been a long time since I’ve come across a location tagged wifi signal.
And if they increase market share of android, that helps their ad revenue a lot. So there are multiple ways for them to look at the Apple/Google fight.
I would feel better with this if Apple were showing that they were really investing in cloud services. Having a lock in a device for location based ads means nothing if you suck at effectively computing the right location based ads. At least Microsoft is throwing a lot of money at the fight with Google.
If it doesn’t have street view (and it doesn’t) it’s worthless.
@J.W. Hamner: Have you seen the Apple-based (may be other companies doing it in Europe) that overlays the street-level data on live images taken from your phone? What I also love about the street view stuff is it takes mapping back to some of the very first highway maps, I forget if it was one the Rands or the McNallys (probably the latter) that took turn by turn photographs of his honeymoon and used them when publishing one of their early road maps (RMC did a lot of RR stuff before highway maps.
anywho, Apple et al know where your phone is, they’re required to do so by law for the whole 911 thing. What they they need is good digital map data underneath it. Tha basic models/software for turn-by-turn navigation are well-known (with different grades of coding and heuristics), the quality of the result really depends on the data they run the models on. Have you considered that professional trucks and cars require different types of street-line data at the very least because trucks have to A) worry about more street restrictions and B) have to have overpass height data explicitly coded? CDEF to follow. Do NOT use Googlemaps if your a trucker planning a route.
Google doesn’t give a shit about phones. They’re moving into the content selling and cloud storage business, and they’re also building their own telecom services so as not to be reliant on the big 3.5. Selling advertising and phone apps is so yesterday.
@amk: You are correct!
@scav: I’ll give you a concrete example. My one and only OSM edit was to fix a short but significant street re-routing about 100 yards from my house that happened about 8 years ago. My edit was about a year ago. Google Maps was fixed long, long before that.
I think OSM is a great project, but some of those tiles will not be as good as Google’s.
I am not sure I would go as far as saying this would make it worthless. But this is a good example of how much investment Google has put into this when Apple has done bupkis.
Now, if the “search for X” feature sucks (And who are they using for search? their own engine?), it will be worthless. And that is $64 million dollar question.
Apple really, really needs to get its act together if it is going to compete in this space. I send a lot of students to work at Amazon/Google/Facebook in cloud-related technology (In fact, I sit in Verner Vogel’s old office, and years after he went to Amazon, I would get calls for him. Had to change the phone number). The only students I have ever sent to Apple were in user experience. They don’t even hire interns in cloud-related tech.
@scav: ETA: They know where your phone is whether you’ve got your mapping ap on or off, you can’t turn the GPS off, you turn the mapping system on and off. The scandals a bit back involved how long they were storing some of the locational data (as well as how much personal data they were scraping off the phones). Don’t people remember the maps of individual’s movements that were built off the files?
I actually believe this, though that is very, very long term. Just like their energy stuff is long term. They still have to pay the bills right now for the R&D.
@mistermix: Very likely, you’ve really got to be on the ball with the staff to support these sorts of updates for a nationwide (let alone world wide) effort. The company I worked for gave up sending updates to NavTeq for at least a few years because NavTeq never seemed to fix them (they may have improved recently). There was a stretch of road near my mothers that NavTeq would route people over despite it being clearly visible using the satellite image that the cliff face had fallen out from under the road — their little street line dangled out over the ocean. Meanwhile, on the other side of my mothers, Microsoft was routing people through the middle of the cow pasture because somebody once platted a never-built development there during the fifties or earlier. Companies have got to take it seriously and invest in this sort of data and that likely means large qualified staff, so I pretty much agree with you.
@Walker: well, Apple did copy the LG Prada . Screen layout here . Prada came first.
My opinion of location ads are unprintable, even on BJ.
They know where your phone is via the cell phone towers and it is accurate within something like 50-100 yards.
When you activate GPS on your phone, it is accurate within a few feet.
my guess is they’ll do it for the user generated content. Not pushing the ads out to you but collecting the traces you generate, the times you pause, etc. Done simply with regular pinging of your phone for time place stamps. That content serves the app store, which can sell more location based services.
We are going to (some european city) for a week. I’ve been google mapping the relevant things to me–grocery stores near the apartment, restaurants near the apartment, chocolate shops near the apartment. There’s still a ton of research needed to weed out things/places I’d never go from things/places I might want to hit or within what time frame. The thought of batting down myriad online solicitations, like cat calls from touts, is horrifying.
Download the WAZE app for iPhone. It’s great for turn-by-turn, real-time traffic, road conditions and hazards. It’s user-generated and FREE!
What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ)
@Steeplejack: Those ads are really creepy. Especially the one with the young couple driving cross country. The only thing either of them talks to is Siri – they never say a word to each other. When they reach the West coast, the woman tells Siri to remind her to do this again. I’m thinking, why don’t you ask your frickin husband/boyfriend to remind you? He’s standing right there.
Forum Transmitted Disease
Wow, voice from a long-dead past. Still have my copy of BeOS. Was running it up until about a year ago.
They came so close to ruling the world.
What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ)
I dunno about Google blowing it. I guess they’re losing potential eyeballs – i.e. every iPhone customer. But we’d have to know the internals about what Apple was asking of them before we knew the lost market for ads is worth the price Apple was demanding.
@NotMax: I usually stay out of these discussions but I got rid of the cell a couple of years ago because I honestly couldn’t even remember the last time I had turned the thing on. Doing fine with the land line….
@What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ): I’m sure Apple wasn’t asking more than the “gle.” And maybe one of the “o”s.
Culture of Truth
I’ve been shopping around for a new smartphone for quite a while now, so I’ve become an expert on what’s out there. I want a nice phone, but it seems like every plan is an outrageous rip-off considering my needs are not that great. I have wifi, don’t need 1,000 minutes, or 100 texts, etc.
So I made up my mind to get a new-ish android phone and try to jerry-rig myself onto a t-mobile prepaid plan, although you can’t do it through them. I haven’t considered an iphone which t-mobile doesn’t support.
Now I find out Virgin mobile is selling the iphone with a decent plan for only $30 month. Even paying $600 for the phone, I’d save in the long run. I have to investigate this more, but unless the other carriers match this, I’d say “T-Mobile Blew It“
All this Tech Media writing about stuff like in the OP seems to be in a 1992 prism. in 1982-1992, there was a network advantage to everyone having the same OS or VCR format. But Apple came back because there is no longer any network advantage for Microsoft OS. Everyone goes on the internet with whatever OS they have.
There is no advantage to owning a phone that everyone else has. If I have an iPhone and my friend has an Android, we can’t call, email, or text together? In fact, it was the opposite when so many iPhone in NYC made the AT&T network useless for iPhone users. But they still bought them and simply played Angry Birds or such and carried another phone to communicate. Yes, consumers still act like there is a network advantage. Well, some do. Many tech writers still do, obviously.
The more interesting question for the OP is why this huge missing feature (TvT navigation) of the greatest smartphone was never publicized? Why has nobody talked about the lack of TvT Navigation on the iPhone until the day after Apple announces they will have it?
The moment I learned that Apple’s iThing mapping app was via Google, I knew there was a contradiction there and it wouldn’t last.
I don’t think it was simply a particular Google screw-up — I didn’t see it as really fitting Apple’s business model.
@Culture of Truth:
I had not heard that Virgin Mobile will be having the iPhone! My current (flip) phone is through them, and I didn’t want an Android phone because I already have an iPod Touch with quite a few apps on it.
What is funny, and by that I mean ragemaking, is the fact that I work within the Googleplex, and AT&T’s service is f*n terrible – I can’t even complete a call without being dropped, even when I wander around outside looking for bars.
Culture of Truth
$550 (iphone) + $720 (over 2 years) = $1,270
$60 month plan for 2 yrs + $99 = $1,540
Culture of Truth
I often do this and I don’t even have a smartphone.
On top of this, every Android ad I’ve seen in weeks touts turn-by-turn as way to differentiate from the iPhone (why it took them this long to do this, I have no idea). I always assumed Apple had sold Garmin an exclusive on turn-by-turn or something.
@Culture of Truth:
I really like having a no-contract phone — less BS to deal with, and you never have to worry about a scary bill arriving. If you run out of minutes, you just buy more.
My original cell phone was a prepaid phone from AT&T, and though I’ve flirted with the idea of getting a “real” cell phone, Virgin Mobile offers everything I want at reasonable prices and doesn’t tie me down to a contract, so why bother?
Also, their actual service has been fine. IIRC, they contract with Sprint for the service, and I’ve rarely hit a dead zone here in So Cal.
That’s not Apple’s limitation – it’s Google’s. Part of Google’s conditions for using their mapping data is that you can’t do any of the interesting stuff with it – like turn by turn. If you wanted to do turn-by-turn you either needed to own the mapping service or license to someone like Garmin. Even with Apple’s new stuff, they’re licensing from TomTom. There was no easy path to do it properly.
And ‘real’ GPS requires offline data, which nobody (other than dedicated GPS) really does yet because its a fuckton of data. Google is just inching into that pool now by letting you download local areas, but even they have a way to go before anyone would consider it real GPS.
@somegayname: Only if you think that Apple designed the iPhone in 2 months. It was first shown in Jan 2007. The Prada came out in late 2006. They were developed in parallel – a concept that people on the internet seem to think is impossible.
And the thing that Google really blew is making an enemy out of Apple. The local search is just one thing that they lose. Everything that Siri is hooking into falls into the ‘anyone but Google’ category. The weather, stock, and sports data is all coming from Yahoo. Siri right now is of limited use as most of the functionality got stripped out when Apple bought it (scaling for a 3rd party startup app and for a built-in service are completely different) and is steadily getting added back in. It’ll take another full version before it’s really totally baked.
Siri is not a voice recognition system. In fact, it uses the same recognition software as Google’s, so comparing it to the competition in terms of recognizing words is somewhat silly. Siri is a context engine, and so far it is unique in that role. Its strength is being able to retain information over a conversational request and understand context. What causes voice to fail has been that it requires the user to ask for things in fully-formed, unambiguous statements. Well, we don’t think that way. We use pronouns. We use parallel construction. We omit information and fill it in later. Dealing with that is the hard part, and that is what Siri is designed to do:
“Schedule a meeting for tomorrow”
“What time should the meeting be” (Siri recognizes that a meeting should have a time)
“2PM” (the user doesn’t need to repeat the meeting request and can just add the extra data – Siri holds context)
“Will anyone else be attending?” (Meetings often have other participants)
“Yes, Steve and Joe”
“Is that Steve Able or Steve Bravo?” (Siri is matching names to contacts and asking to resolve ambiguity)
“Would you like me to send them an email reminder?” (Siri is programmed to know that there are common additional actions to take for a meeting, like send reminders)
You have to program the system to understand all of those different context points, how to respond when any given piece is missing, without asking for all of it at once (it doesn’t ask for the time, the attendees, the location all at once and overwhelm the user), and how to reconcile each bit of data – names go to the contacts, places to the map, restaurants to Yelp, movies to Rotten Tomatoes, etc. It’s wicked hard, so its going to take some time.
Siri is the bigger threat to Google. Google search is designed to bridge users with existing services – like Yelp and Rotten Tomatoes. Siri has the same goal and does it without involving a search engine. It’s a context engine, so it doesn’t try to give you results from a restaurant service when you’re searching for a movie. Google will. Siri takes you straight to the service, and if it understands the context it’ll then walk you through the task, like reserving a table or buying tickets. That’s where Google’s ecosystem falls apart – it can’t go that far yet.
@Ben Cisco: Frigging masses. Always trying to thwart the corporate will.
James K. Polk, Esq.
Jesus Christ, what’s it like to be a walking commerical?
Villago Delenda Est
Yes. Yes it is.
It is spam.
After we tumbrel the Village, we go after Madison Avenue.
The idea of buying a device and paying for a data service so that every store I walk by can bark at me to let me know what they have for sale sounds like some special kind of hell.
GET OFF MY LAWN AND STAY OFF MY LAWN. And take your little friend Siri with you.
Why am I not shocked that a reality challenged moron like you is also an iTard.
2 phones with Android are sold for every 1 with IOS. Apple already lost….lol
This is silly, on multiple levels. I neither know nor care about what conditions Google puts on using their turn-by-turn navigation software; other options are available. There’s no good reason it took Apple five years and more to come to a deal with TomTom. Someone said upthread that they were happy with the performance of an app they bought for their iPhone for $6; think that company wouldn’t be happy to get $0.50 from Apple on every iPhone, instead of 70% of $6 from a few percent of iPhone users? Think the iPhone wouldn’t be at least $0.50 better with inbuilt turn-by-turn navigation?
And the competition between Apple and Google sliding into outright war is hardly some sort of accident brought upon the situation by Google stupidly making an enemy out of Apple. The competing desires and goals were inevitable and to a significant degree nonnegotiable. Google could not stay out of local ads while remaining Google, and Apple wasn’t going to let Google own local ads, nor was it going to let Google control key parts of the user experience on an Apple product forever. There was no way this competition wasn’t going to heat up.
I loathe a lot of things about Apple (and a lot of those things were the obsessions of Steve Jobs, so we’ll see what happens in the future). And I greatly like my Android phone, a better device than anything Apple makes in a number of ways. Still, your comment is the sort of blithering ignorance that typifies your comments: yes, Android is doing very well, but Apple still has a huge share of the phone market; I’m not even sure it’s a shrinking one, as other categories (Blackberry, Palm) have been disappearing. In any case, to say Apple has “already lost” is obviously wrong; I’m not even sure they’re losing, though I’d also say Android isn’t losing. And for all I like my Android phone, and dislike the dictatorial approach of Apple, the small selection of iOS devices not only means that the iPhone is the single most popular handset by a large margin, it also means that iOS is the only platform where every device is perfectly supported and is using the most current software – because supporting a hundred different Android phones is a major pain compared to supporting two iPhone models. iOS users are in my opinion disproportionately ignorant fanboys, but they also are apparently better customers: Apple is making a lot more money from iTunes sales, overall and per user, than Google is off of their Market.
Google has the street level content and its own platform and now mobile hardware with Motorola.
Their market strategy against Apple might as well be “ignore the crazy old guy”
@James K. Polk, Esq.:
Or investor. Smart money is on Apple here. They control their product and rely on users paying (generally speaking) up-front. Google’s revenue is ad-based, which is reliable, but requires selling consumers something that they don’t want, so you actively have to find ways to keep them consuming something that they work to avoid. That’s hard to do, and tempts many companies down paths that ultimately prove harmful.
Regarding Siri, it’s really interesting tech. It was interesting before Apple bought it – more interesting in fact. With a smaller user base they could do things that Apple is struggling to replicate. With the larger user base, Apple is able to expand the language access, however, bringing it to more people. I firmly believe that conversational, context driven interfaces are the future of computing – and that Siri is the equivalent to the 1984 MacOS or the Lisa or the STAR interface or whatever before it. Not sure that Siri is going to represent the high point of that (I doubt it actually) but it’s going to get everyone to step up their game at rethinking how we interact with computers in a significant way.
Google’s advantage here is the sheer depth of their content. They tried to leverage that with Android and have somewhat succeeded, but they’re struggling to maintain control of that platform. Actually, they’re struggling to leverage the success of Android into being a success for Google. In many ways, it’s a missed opportunity and I’m not sure they’re going to be able to get that sorted back out. We’ll see.
@samuel: Apple isn’t playing the game you think they’re playing.
I love google. I have done work for google. I know and respect many google employees. I agree that they know how to recruit talent. However, they are crappy at turning ideas into profitable products. And this will only intensify as they continue to defer to engineers.
As to the larger question of whether there can be successful mobile advertising, this stands out in Louis Gassée’s analysis:
Concerns about privacy? Hahaahahahaha! Again, what we see in social media is that people are falling all over themselves to give their privacy away and to pimp their friends and family to Facebook and ultimately to advertisers.
And various companies are still fighting transitions out of the house to various devices. That companies don’t know how best to exploit advertising is more about stupidity and inertia than it is about any inherent problem with new media and new devices.
One thing that is clear however, is that newspapers and most magazines are done, simply because they are no longer the best portable method of delivering consumers to advertisers.
Not quite true. Check out Mapdroyd; they let you download maps from OSM. Unfortunately, they only seem to have location and tracking, rather than turn-by-turn navigation. Their complete map set for the world is only about 4 GB.
@Warren Terra: Speaking of ignorance, taking every position on a subject doesn’t exactly make you look like you know what you are talking about.
Also, ever heard of a paragraph? Try using it to separate your opposing opinions on the same subject next time….mmmkay!
Culture of Truth
Back in my day we didn’t have yer fancy turn by turn navigation. We used maps we couldn’t read that wouldn’t fold, got totally lost, and spent hours driving the wrong way — there we were, blinded by a crinkled map in the middle of nowhere until we had to drink our urine to survive and that’s the way it was and we liked it!
@Martin: Do tell, what 3dimensional game is apple playing?
I’m quite aware of these things you speak of btw. I was responding to mistermix’s naive post about it.
Sounds like you’re one of those iTards that also owns stock. You people are the biggest waste of time to argue with we are NOT talking about apple stock…..lol!
Of course you cannot compare Android to iPhone. One is a platform the other is a product. So thanks for pointing out the obvious.
You cannot compare Google to Apple either. Their revenue streams are completely different. You don’t seem to understand that.
@What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ):
If he’s anything like me, Siri will probably remember longer. On the other hand, given the usual life span of technology, it might not be long enough to be useful.
@Culture of Truth:
Ha. In California, sales people, delivery people and people in the know lived by the Holy Thomas Guide.
And many hopeful travelers would wend their way to the Auto Club, where the Almighty TripTik and other Auto Club Guides would be used to provide a path to those on their vacation pilgrimages.
It’s amazing how smartphones have done away with standalone GPS products.
And no one here yet has noted how boating navigation apps are taking off big time.
This kind of thing, the way that people find to use technology is far more interesting than Apple vs google crap.
There is already an app for smart phones that figures out where you are & can deliver you to “great deals” (and other BS). I bumped into it in a previous gig but don’t remember what it is called. I know very large retailers like Target and Best Buy were testing it out a couple years back. Even if you had location turned off the store recognized your phone in the store & made contact with it. The back end linked to whatever data the store wanted to keep on you (an example the demo gave us was “You bought tampons 3 weeks ago so we will push a coupon to your phone now on tampons” – that struck me as creepy but I’m a guy so YMMV). It could give you directions inside the store to deals and offer bonus programs.
Snark Based Reality
Google blew what?
Android was a play to stop carriers and hardware makers from locking out Google’s online services. At the time they were probably more afraid of Microsoft than Apple but Apple’s behaviors have proven them absolutely correct about that paranoia. Android was the correct play for Google as they have a platform which will soon approach 1 million new device activations a day. They can no longer be locked out of the mobile platform and don’t need to be subservient in an abusive relationship with Apple.
The only thing Google “blew” was not sticking around to suck Steve Jobs’ cock enough and be Apple’s bitch apparently. Apple has proven again and again what it does to partners. Why should Google have waited for the shiv? Apple is the one playing catch up now on Google’s core services. iCloud? Maps? Years behind.
I find the iOS 5 experience painful compared to Android once you’ve used Android heavily as Google’s online services are simply better than the competition and iOS doesn’t integrate well at all. And with Android 4.0 (ICS) most of the UI problems I had with the Android have been fixed. It’s not a coincidence iOS 5 and iOS 6 borrowed most of their new features from the Android world.
I have no problem with Apple fans and can understand the appeal of their hardware design but don’t believe in the distorted reality that usually surrounds Apple PR.
@Martin: Prada was demoed September 2006 when it won the IF Design award, iphone was unveiled January 2007. True, the official Prada announcement was Dec 2006, but apple pays attention to those design presentations and awards. Four months is plenty of time for a low volume of mock ups. Prada was commercially released in Feb 2007 (Europe) while iphone shipped June 2007.
However, I do think most of these instances were just inevitable convergence of sensible designs. I just get sick of “apple has such innovative designs” when really, all smartphones and tablets were inspired by the Star Trek PADD .
That’s not what I said.
I said that Google limits using their data for doing Turn by Turn. There are remarkably few options for doing it – so few that much of Microsoft’s interest in partnering with Nokia was getting access to their mapping data for the same thing. Google deserves a great deal of credit for gathering that data – it’s a huge undertaking, and I don’t begrudge them for locking Apple out – it’s a competitive advantage they should hold onto. But Apple has had to partner with over 50 companies and data providers to come out with an equivalent. It’s a very nontrivial problem to solve. It’s not an excuse or a complaint, merely an explanation.
Apple has tried to partner with those other companies in the past – but they were unwilling to do so. They have no independent future under that model – they’re fully dependent on Apple for their revenue. Their (imagined) future continued to be independent GPS units, and then the idea that apps would be able to fill the gap. Turn by turn became a ‘free’ service with Google (as is their right). The market for independent GPS units has collapsed outside of the outdoors/hiker/hunter/etc community. The market for their software as app has collapsed – at least as far as they can make it profitable. $1 per app isn’t nearly enough for them to keep their data updated. Garmin has revenues of $2.5B per year. TomTom is around $1.5B. Even if every iPhone owner bought the software for $1 and the margins on their existing hardware sales were low, they’d probably just be covering their data maintenance costs. The data expectations from the casual user is completely out of line with what the casual user is willing to pay – which means that mapping must be a subsidized service now. That’s what Google does. That’s what Apple is now doing. And you can’t fault TomTom or Garmin from refusing to want to be on the tail end of that business model.
These companies have free will. Just because Apple has $5/unit to throw into mapping doesn’t mean that the mapping companies will sign on. The market has to work for both sides, and I think it’s only recently that it has – not because it’s a great deal for TomTom, but because TomTom doesn’t see a future without a subsidizer like Apple. They’re in trouble. Apple could have bought them outright, though.
True, but I’m not sure each partner would have seen it the same way. Apple discounts business models like Googles as inevitably unsustainable. I agree with that viewpoint. You cannot grow a company on ads alone – the consumer tolerance for your product is low, and eventually the consumer will push back harder than you can innovate and position around them. It’s not a bad market, mind you, there’s a lot of money to be made in ads, but it’s a limited market in many, many respects. One such respect is that you need to have access to the platforms that your advertisers want access to. That’s why cable has developed into the model it has – if you want to advertise to sports fans, you can go to Time Warner Cable and still advertise on ESPN, even though ESPN is owned by a rival conglomerate. You have to be careful what doors you close. Google, reliant on ad revenue, is going to have a hard time of things if Apple fully shuts them out and you can’t reach Apple users, with ⅓ of a billion units out there. Google has a LOT to lose with Apple as an enemy. Apple has relatively little to lose with Google as an enemy. That gives Apple power over Google that Google never really had over Apple, and why Google needed to tread somewhat more lightly here. Realize that Google has exactly one revenue stream. Apple has several – that gives Apple flexibility that Google lacks.
And Apple’s share of the phone market continues to grow. Basically, there are only two marketshare winners right now – Samsung and Apple. Everyone else is lucky to be holding still. Samsung has effectively sewn up the top tier Android space. HTC et al make some really nice phones, but they aren’t profitable, and they’re struggling to stay competitive. The dynamics here are really interesting, in fact. Because of the rapid market growth, supply chain management is critical – infrastructure needs to be built at a rapid pace, which requires a lot of capital. Only Samsung and Apple have that capital, and Samsung has it in part because Apple is their largest customer. The reason why Samsung is doing so well is that being a component supplier, they can’t get priced out by someone like Apple. But between the two of them, companies like HTC and Motorola and so on can’t get top-tier parts. At the other end of the market are companies like Huawei making cut-rate phones – basically Android phones to fill the old feature phone space – $0 on contract, cheap pre-pay, etc. That makes it hard for HTC to compete on price and because they can’t get parts, they can’t easily compete on features. It’s a bad place to be.
There’s a nice writeup on what killed Palm over at TheVerge, and there’s a paragraph that paints the picture everyone is facing:
The big risk to Android is losing Samsung, and Samsung is in an interesting position. Apple is their largest customer, and without Samsung, Android won’t have any component supplier/OEM in a position to make sure that top-tier components can go into Android handsets. And that’s important, because one of the things that’s hard to sort out in the Android sales numbers is how many of those handsets are actually being used as smartphones and generating app sales, using services, and so on – and how many were free on contract phones that simply replaced people’s feature phones? That’s the problem with the subsidy model – once you make something free, you effectively make it valueless. If those Android handsets aren’t buying apps and viewing ads and opening google docs and so on (and the evidence suggests that there’s a lot of them which aren’t doing those things) then they return no value to Google and no value to the platform. And that’s why developers are somewhat less eager to support Android over iOS in spite of the activation numbers in Androids favor. They only make money if the phone is used in specific ways – and to a greater degree, Android phones aren’t used in the manner that helps developers as compared to iPhone.
From all evidence, Google makes more money off of iOS than it does off of Android. Ironically, Microsoft makes more money off of Android than Google does. It’s hard to see what Google is really getting out of this effort, given where it is right now. And the purchase of Motorola won’t be without a cost. I don’t see the other OEMs being too excited about having Google making their own hardware and having exclusive software access. I know that Google has vowed to not do that, but doing that is the only reason that makes the Mot acquisition make sense. Of course they’re going to do that.
@Schlemizel: Another reason to order online. :-(
@Walker: Apple has a long and dismal history of not understanding how to run server-side businesses. Cases in point — AppleLink, Newton developer support, iTools — er, .mac — er, MobileMe — er, iCloud. iTunes seems somewhat competent, though it has in various ways rescinded availability of legally purchased audio content for family members. They have enough cash to buy someone who knows how to run an enormous cloud service, and perhaps that’s what will happen to Yahoo!, but I sincerely doubt they can build it from scratch.
@bemused senior: Speaking as someone who works for a biggish company that just got bought by a very large company in order to provide a business model and actually working technology in one of the very large company’s weaker sectors, I’m inclined to agree with you. That does seem to be the way it happens (has to happen) with major players in IT.
Note — Nothing I do has a whole lot to do with the smartphone industry as an industry, per se, although I’m peripherally involved with smartphone apps…but who isn’t?
@bemused senior: I don’t think Apple is going to buy anyone here – at least nobody notable. With iCloud they basically are just buying into existing working solutions – Azure, AWS, etc. So long as that option exists, I think they’ll stick to that path. They’ll probably keep buying smaller firms that can deliver specific needs – like they did with Chomp – and simply cut checks to the cloud backend folks.
I don’t know enough to argue with you about GPS. But someone upthread indicated they were able to buy a good turn-by-turn navigation App for $6. Assuming that App is completely legal and licensed, either the company selling it is doing so at a loss somehow or there’s no reason Apple couldn’t have bought a copy for every iPhone at a huge discount (I proposed about 90% off, above).
It’s not hard at all to see what Google gets out of Android: Apple is inclined to building monopoly control over exclusive platforms – especially when its CEO and iconic Guru was a noted monomaniac. If Apple were the only decent smartphone, Google would inevitably be squeezed out of the phone marketplace entirely, not jut operating systems but services, etcetera. Keeping Apple from completely owning smartphones is worth the creation of a platform separate from iOS; it probably helps give Google a stronger bargaining position within iOS.
I don’t follow the various options that closely, and HTC seems to make some nice devices, but indeed my phone – which in every respect other than the aesthetics of its case is superior to the iPhone – is indeed a high-end Samsung. Samsung also makes by far the best Android tablets. Given that they are becoming a brand name, I can’t see them giving up their current trajectory to sink back into anonymity as another supplier to Apple.
Siri is interesting tech but the fact is VoR doesn’t work all that well. Also the use of cellular automata as the underlying paradigm for Database Search and Retrieval is dumb. It doesn’t work all that well for Bing and the failure has been carried over to Siri.
Add these together, we see use rate plummeting once the novelty and the fun of being misunderstood in silly ways wears off.
FTFY. You know the Thomas Guide had complete market penetration because anything important included their page and grid reference and nobody else’s. 10 years ago, everyone I knew in Southern California had a Thomas Guide in their car.
@Snark Based Reality: I try to keep these tech posts short, but here’s my short take on how Google blew it with maps:
My understanding is that Google kept turn-by-turn nav exclusive to Android to make it an Android advantage and push the adoption of Android phones over IOS. My memory might be wrong, and the whole IOS map picture is a bit cloudy to me, but if it’s true, it’s got to be part of the reason Apple started an in-house dev effort to create their own Maps app with turn-by-turn.
Apple might have done a new maps app anyway since the relationship was falling apart but if Google had thrown down turn-by-turn, even as an app store app, a year or two ago, they might have pushed the outcome for mapping in a bit of a different direction.
I’m only a spectator watching other’s iPhones, but it seemed that there was no good turn-by-turn free nav on iOS. If Google had put out a better free app they probably would have gotten significant uptake. They’d also be positioned as an alternative for the very real possibility that the Open Street Map tiles that Apple uses have some problems in rural areas. (I mentioned an example upthread.)
Anyway, that’s why I titled the post the way I did. I didn’t mean to say that Google blew it by creating Android – it’s clear from Android adoption that they have lots of eyeballs with Google apps running on them, which is their goal.
@samuel: I bought a Galaxy Nexus on the first day it was available, and an original Droid the first day it was available. I’m by no means an “iTard” but I still think Google blew it with *maps*.
Platform development and supply chain management.
As bad as Apple has been with server-side businesses, Google is equally bad at building platforms. They’ve had this constellation of services, bought up and started tons of them, and they’re shuttering them at an incredible pace because Google never figured out how to connect them into a viable, growing platform. Yeah, they’ve got a lot of users, and yeah, you can carry your google id across from here to there, but there’s not a lot happening outside of Google that brings users back to Google. Compare that to Facebook where Facebook apps developed by Zynga etc. keep and attract people to the platform. Facebook gives those developers an environment that they need to succeed – handing them a social network, payment system, etc. Google hasn’t effectively done that. It’s trying to fix it with Google+.
Apple does it not through a purely software ecosystem but through a hardware one as well. The Apple dock connector has allowed a huge market of aftermarket docks and speakers. The uniformity of hardware means that there’s a long tail of case and accessory makers that can succeed because the market for an iPhone 4 case is 200 million units. Apple’s app store is far and away the easiest way to convince someone to pay you for your software. I’m not suggesting that Apple is perfect or virtuous here, just that they’ve gotten it far more right than anyone else – simply as a measure of paying and retained customers. Those accessories and software are a continued draw of consumers to iPhone. Android may be getting more overall customers, but they aren’t helping build the Android market as well as Apple’s customers are building Apple’s market. If this trend continues, eventually Apple is going to overtake Android. In the US and many other key markets (key to developers and service providers at least), that’s what’s happening. In much of Asia, Apple isn’t being nearly as successful.
On the other side, Apple is owning the supply chain. Their profits and economies of scale allow them to keep competitors out of the market. Even with Androids sales, a top handset will sell 10 million units. Apple is buying committing to component buys in the hundreds of millions of units now, but their competitors with a very fractured handset offering is buying much much lower volume of components because they can’t determine which handsets are going to sell in what volumes. As a result, Apple is going in and financing factories to be constructed to exclusively turn out parts for Apple, and guaranteeing enough demand to meet the output of the factory with no parts going to anyone else. If you’re wondering why there are so few high-density screens out there competing with Apple, it’s because Apple paid for all the equipment to make those screens and has exclusive access to the output. So long as HTC and the other handset makers can’t put up the money due to low margins and can’t meet the volume to justify building factories for their own use, they’re going to get shut out on components and struggle to compete on features.
Android is engaged in a race to the bottom on price, that so far only Samsung has been able to stay above. That’s always a dangerous trend. It’s great for consumers while it lasts, but it’s going to result in a single dominant Android OEM, and it’s allowing Apple to exert ever greater control over the market.
I am amazed at how complete the Thomas Guide dominance was and how quickly they faded after Map Quest and other Internet alternatives became the new standard. GPS technology and smartphones sealed the deal.
Interesting take. But this doesn’t really require search, which is google’s bread and butter. So, maybe google missed an opportunity, but I am not sure that Apple would know what to do with it.
But this does get interesting. When you or other people look at a map, would you want to know places to eat, places to shop? Would you want to know if stores had sales going on? Would it make a difference if you were walkig or driving?
Supporting your view is some conversation on a recent tech show. One of the guests talked about a recent trip to New York, and downloading an app that gave her subway and bus transit routes, which she used in going from the airport into Manhattan, and later when traveling. Travelers to foreign countries want downloadable maps (to avoid excessive online charges). This still presents an advertising opportunity, but I’m not sure how this is best exploited.
BTW, there is a lot of side discussion in the tech community is how Siri and Android voice search technology might threaten google search and traditional methods of showing ads.
Uhm, Google Voice Actions are nearly identical to Siri.
And I think this is where most people are disagreeing. It didn’t really matter what Google did. Apple was never going to rely on Google Maps for the same reason Google was never going to rely on IE and Firefox (or iPhone). Neither company wants to leave what they see as a strategic infrastructure component exclusively in the hands of a competitor. Apple was never going to be completely happy until they had their own map app, and they were going to drop Google like a hot rock as soon as they had one.
IMO, Google took a smart middle ground. If they had tried to screw Apple over by providing an even more crippled Maps app (or no app at all), they would have been gone from iOS a lot sooner. If they had included a full version of Maps, Apple still would have wanted to make their own version and would have booted them about as quickly. By creating a version that was mostly functional but still lacked one killer feature, they managed to stick on iOS for quite a while (and picking up valuable experience during the time when Android was an also ran) while still giving their own platform a real competitive advantage when it needed one.
My feeling is that Mapquest, et. al. didn’t do that much. You might have used your Thomas Guide less, but you still needed it for when you got a new destination while you were away from your computer. I guess they might have discouraged people from buying new copies as often, though, which would have eaten into their profits. It wasn’t until GPS came along that the Thomas Guide was really obsolete.
People where I worked would photocopy the appropriate Thomas Guide map page when inviting people to parties. This quickly shifted to Mapquest and Yahoo maps. Realtors were heavily dependent on Mapquest, a couple so much so, that when I suggested that they take a look at google maps, they just balked because their loyalty to Mapquest was pretty complete. It had become a kind of industry standard.
I don’t know many people who bought dedicated GPS units. Laptops and smartphones may have had a great impact.
Sadly, not much has been written on the quiet demise of Thomas Maps.
I kinda recall how they moved into computer generated maps, getting rid of their old grid system, which confused customers. This only made it worse when competing products came along and displaced them. They were bought out in the 90s by Rand McNally and the remnants of their operation quietly moved out of Southern California:
They went out without even a whimper.
I remember that when I moved to Los Angeles, the very first thing my brother had me do was buy a Thomas Guide. It really was the best way to figure out how to get from place to place.
I wonder if someone (Rand McNally?) still owns the rights. The “grid” format would work really well on an iPhone.
@Warren Terra: I spent a whopping $10 on GPS Drive which does turn-by-turn nav with my iPhone just fine. I suppose you could argue that a device at that price should have turn-by-turn but the upgrade cost was less than I ever paid for a standalone GPS unit.
Well, Apple builds very specific kinds of control over their platform. Google (without Android) isn’t the kind of company Apple would be looking to push out. Fuck, they just went out of their way to bake Twitter and Facebook directly into the platform. Apple is generally pretty aware of their limitations and Google (Android excluded) presented no viable threat to Apple’s platform – nothing they do is going to compete too heavily with Apple’s work, and they presented a possible partner for the server-side stuff that Apple will even admit they generally suck at. Google was actually the natural cloud partner for Apple, pre-Android, and the relationship was set up as such – with Google’s CEO on Apple board. Apple wouldn’t have done that if they saw Google as a competitor.
Android is what changed that relationship. Google was set up as the must-have set of services, and it’s cost Apple a lot to dilute that, but what choice did they have when Apple couldn’t get comparable access to Google services as Google would offer themselves through Android. Apple’s been down this road before with Microsoft. The whole reason the iTunes music store even was considered is because the only viable online music format for purchase was DRM encumbered WMA, and Microsoft refused to port the DRM to the Mac, cutting the Mac out of any possible online music purchasing system, right at the time they were bringing iPod to market. Microsoft was an unreliable partner because they were more heavily invested in Windows than in content, and Google chose to invest more heavily in Android than in services, cutting Apple out. Apple wasn’t going to find themselves in the same position of getting screwed over by a partner again (and again and again – it happens to Apple a lot – PowerPC, IE, display postscript, etc.) but they are now in a position to fight back, and they are, and I can’t really blame them.
Now, would Apple have completely owned smartphones? Maybe. But that’s not so clear. I think Android has inadvertently contributed to Apple’s success by forcing Apple down paths that they likely wouldn’t have taken otherwise. Google could have played the platform agnostic card and offered up services for Blackberry and Nokia and helped the other players in the market be more successful against Apple, but instead Google helped defeat them and push the entire market mostly into Apple’s strengths – and the rise of Android basically killed Microsofts position in the phone market.
Apple’s success here was hardly a given. Keep in mind that Apple has grown roughly 10-fold since the iPhone came out, and their first iPhone year wasn’t exactly gangbusters. It wasn’t bad, but they also made a lot of mistakes that they were given room to recover from.
My main objection to Android is that it follows the Windows licensing model, which has been disastrous for the PC hardware market, robbing it of profits to use to advance the platform. It’s not necessarily a bad model for consumers if price is the only metric we use to measure by, but it’s a bad model for building a long-term vibrant marketplace. It gives the appearance of choice mostly by overwhelming the consumer and demanding they make uninformed decisions because it becomes impossible to make fully informed ones, and it steers consumers to make choices based on things that they probably shouldn’t care about at all. Eventually it just sort of collapses under its own weight.
That’s nice. Isn’t it a bit crazy that you had to research an app and pay $10 for it? If the maker of that app sells to 10% of iPhone users (which seems high), and keeps the standard 70% of the sticker price, they’d be better off making a deal to include it on every iPhone for $0.75. And for these six bits Apple wouldn’t have the embarrassment of selling a device that has GPS, a big screen, data and processing capacity, and yet can’t do turn-by-turn navigation. The lack of that ability – and I hope you’ll agree it’s incredibly useful to have that ability in your pocket at all times – is a weird one. I still haven’t heard a good reason the iPhone lacked it, when my rather crappy phone had it almost five years ago.
That’s exactly how it happened. Apple wouldn’t have touched mapping unless they felt they had to.
That doesn’t necessarily make it a problem for Google, though. The problem comes if the presence of the feature on iPhone is good enough to draw users away from Android (I have my doubts there) or more likely, that Apple is able to peel enough users away from Google mapping content to undermine the value of that content to Google with respect to ad revenue. I think that will affect them a bit. But I think the real problem Google has is that it’s clear that Apple is going to cut them off one piece at a time until Google has no more hooks into Apple’s platforms. Eventually, that’s going to add up to be a real cost.
Apple’s got a large enough and well enough controlled platform to move entire industries. For example, I don’t think NFC payments are going to take off in the US until Apple blesses a solution, and that’s one place where I think they’re unlikely to sign off on someone else’s system.
Snark Based Reality
NFC payments have gone nowhere not because Apple hasn’t stepped in yet. They have gone no where because at least in the US the carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint) have decided payments is the way to grow mobile revenues in the future and they don’t want ANY third party controlling that on what they view as THEIR phones. So the carriers are busy fragmenting the field with their own selfish plays and blocking things like Google Wallet from really pushing NFC forward.
The carriers have already seen and are paying for Apple’s previous negotiations. The carriers think they can become the next credit card companies and rake in all those fees. They do not want to be a dumb pipe provider with a small margin.
For this reason they will NOT hand control of mobile payments (NFC, et al) over to Apple. They didn’t want Google involved either which is why with Sprint’s defection to the dark side not a single US carrier worth a damn will allow a Google Wallet enabled phone.
Not really. Take away the voice recognition bit, because that’s identical in both products – it’s basically just Nuance at the back end.
GVA is more declarative. You have to get everything, or most everything in the original request for it to work. Siri is more conversational and contextual. So long as you get across that you want to set a reminder, it’ll prompt you for the rest. And if you transition from sending a text to your wife and then later ask to ‘Remind me to send her flowers’ it’ll retain that ‘her’ refers to your wife.
That’s not super obvious in the current incarnation of Siri, because Apple has really limited what it can do as compared to when it was an iOS app (and because people just assume it can only do declarative commands, because computers could only ever do declarative commands), but as Apple plugs these services back in, it’ll become much more apparent.
That’s not to say that GVA won’t get there as well, but it’s not there yet.
Snark Based Reality
Microsoft and Apple will do everything they think they can legally to lock Google out of their increasingly proprietary and closed operating systems. That’s why Google launched their own mobile platform, that’s why Google released their own browser (Chrome) and is doing everything they can to push the open web as a primary platform. Google is making a solid open source and open standards play.
Google saw this coming many years ago.
And frankly I guess you could call me a fanboy through it’s honestly more that Google pisses me off the least. Apple and Microsoft can eat my left and right nuts respectively.
(Sent from my iMac.)
@Snark Based Reality:
I don’t see where they will have a choice. Apple can go completely around them. Apple has 400 million credit card backed accounts. Apple can set up mobile payments to route though Apple’s accounts and to the credit card you hang off of your account. In that way it can turn any Apple gift card into a gift card for any retailer, it can use the allowance features to enable NFC payments for kids that lack a credit card but have an iPhone or iPod, and it can allow Apple to open an API to your transaction information so you can have it dump directly into Quicken, etc.
What are the carriers going to do – stop carrying the iPhone? They all know they can’t afford to wind up where T-Mobile is today.
I agree with this completely. This development was inevitable, though – it’s they way Apple operates, and it wasn’t some late-emerging move my Apple in response to insufficient love from Google. Google has been trying to build an infrastructure in which it’s not dependent on the goodwill of the platform’s sole (non-Google) owner, while trying to remain viable on iOS as long as possible.
@Warren Terra: I don’t think it was inevitable though, or else Apple wouldn’t be investing energy into integrating Facebook. Those server side services aren’t what Apple does, except when they feel they need to. I’m sure they’d much prefer to not be doing anything like mapping, and would have rather left it to Google (as they did when the iPhone first launched) if not for the direct competition that Google established.
I saw some for sale at Costco the last time I was there, so somebody is still printing them.
@Snark Based Reality:
You sure about that? Because Sprint, at least, was giving people a $50 credit if they activate a Google Wallet account when they buy a NFC equipped phone. That doesn’t sound as if they were fighting Google tooth and nail for control over mobile payments.
@Martin: “Android is engaged in a race to the bottom on price”. Urrum, hellooo! Google does not charge anything for their OS. Their strategy has NOTHING TO do with selling Android. It’s free.
If you don’t even get that basic fact there is NOTHING to talk about.