Apple iOS 6 Booting Google, Adopting Facebook (AAPL, GOOG, FB)

Posted by · June 5, 2012 3:38 pm

Worldwide Developers ConferenceEven though it isn’t until next week, Apple’s highly anticipated Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2012) is already making major waves among the geek elite. In reports leading up to the conference, word has already broken that Apple is planning to make some major changes in the next version of iOS—iOS 6.

Good-bye Google Maps. Hello Apple Maps.

According to a May report from popular Apple blog 9to5Mac, the company is planning to ditch Google Maps—a standard iOS feature since the iPhone’s 2007 inception—and replace it with a maps app of its own.

“The application design is said to be fairly similar to the current Google Maps program on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch,” writes the blog’s Mark Gurman, citing his “trusted sources.” However, “it is described as a much cleaner, faster, and more reliable experience.”

This is largely attributable to acquisitions Apple has made—Placebase, C3 Technologies, and Poly 9—making the development of an in-house maps app more feasible. Most notable among the app’s “cleaner, faster, and more reliable” features is a new 3D mode.

“The 3D mode does not come enabled by default, but users simply need to click a 3D button that is conveniently stored in the app,” Gurman explains.

Calling the move “inevitable,” Business Insider’s Jay Yarow suggests that the move by Apple makes sense given the escalating competition between Apple and Google—namely the smartphone war between the iPhone and Google’s army of Android phones. What’s more, such a move by Apple promises to cut off a ripe data (and potential revenue) resource that Google has been mining for the past five years

“If Apple can produce a better experience than Google, it’s another reason to buy [an] iPhone, or an iPad over something running Android with Google’s maps,” Yarow argues.

Apple – Google + Facebook = iOS 6

To add insult to injury, this isn’t the only blow Apple is expected to deliver to Google at WWDC 2012. A recent report from AllThingsD suggests that Apple and Facebook are cozying up in the lead-up to this month’s conference, which is when iOS 6 is set to debut.

Eager to distance itself from a shameful IPO performance, Facebook is reportedly expected to be significantly integrated into Apple’s latest mobile OS. Assuming it is set to occur during the WWDC, such an announcement should help to “return the focus to forward momentum by Facebook,” suggests Kara Swisher.

Unlike the new map app, nobody seems too sure what exactly a more Facebook-centric iOS is going to look like. For the skeptics among us who aren’t quite sure how much to trust reports of Facebook integration with iOS 6, here’s what CEO Tim Cook had to say about Apple’s relationship with Facebook back in May at the D10 conference:

I think our relationship is good. I think we can do more with them. Stay tuned…We want to provide customers a simple way to do what they want to do. Facebook has millions of customers. We want them to have the best experience on our platform.

Assuming it’s true, this would serve to quell rumors of Facebook making its way into the smartphone business for itself. Worse still, Google would find itself engaged in an even tougher battle with its Cupertino rival.

For the time being, though, at least Apple isn’t replacing Google as its default search for iOS…for now.

For more WWDC 2012 predictions . . .