Apple Vs Google: Feature War Heats Up

A mobile operating system platform war between the two giants escalates as Apple will reportedly announce its own mapping application to replace Google Maps.

The Android versus iOS platform war is heating up. Photo: creamostuweb.com.mx/Flickr

The next day after Apple announced its new in-app subscription model, Google released a similar scheme.

The search giant is predicted to launch its own music service to compete with iTunes, while Apple is trying to horn in on mobile social products such as Google Buzz with a revamped Mobile Me, writes PC World.

On Monday the consumer electronics juggernaut is expected to announce its own map application, challenging the position of Google Maps as one of the most-valued features on the iPhone.

The move will unveil closer integration of its iPhone apps and iCloud storage service with all its devices, the latest riposte in its battle with Google’s Android smartphone software, Reuters says.

Monday would probably see the latest in Siri, the voice interface that is believed to continue to set the iPhone and the iPad apart from the Android pack.

And there will likely be a new line of Macintosh laptops as well – underscoring the leverage that a full line of hardware products can bring to what is mainly a software war with Google.

According to Carolina Milanesi, analyst at Gartner Research, Apple Inc. is up to differentiate its mobile devices from Google’s Android by further enticing consumers deeper into its app ecosystem.

“It’s all about loyalty and basically leveraging the opportunity of selling more to them,” she said. “I don’t think the consumers in the mass market are necessarily tied into the Android ecosystem in the same way that consumers on the Apple side are.”

However, it’s obvious that the rivals use different weapons. Apple’s vise-like grip on its ecosystem – with the closely managed app store and its integration with the hardware – is definitely in sharp contrast to Google’s free-for-all approach.

The open system approach, similar to Microsoft Corp’s successful strategy of creating standard-setting software that runs on a variety of hardware, has allowed Android to head the list of top smartphones (albeit with nothing close to Apple’s profit margins).

Which is more, Android has also helped create several potent hardware rivals to Apple. Samsung Electronics’ Android-driven Galaxy SIII is drawing favorable comparisons to iPhone and Amazon.com Inc’s cheaper Kindle Fire is challenging Apple in tablets and digital content.

Apple’s predicted move to replace Google Maps with its own mapping application is a good dramatic example of how the rivalry between the giants has been evolving.

Google has spent huge sums of money to develop its mapping technology over the years, and about half of its map traffic now comes from iPhones and iPads.

Moreover, the traffic from those Apple products reveals valuable location data that helps improve the mapping service and provides features like real-time traffic reports.

It took Apple three years to take mapping back. The company has used technology from acquisitions such as 3D mapping company C3 Technologies, Canadian startup Poly9 Group and mapping service Placebase, said ISI analyst Brian Marshall.

“As Apple builds out its Siri service, they build out the iCloud infrastructure and more capability into its operating system, location data is going to become important,” said Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu. “This could help their advertising business too.”

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