Until now, there has been no bigger frenemy relationship than the one between Apple and Google in the smartphone business. The symbiotic pairing that began with a contract between the two tech giants allowing the original iPhone to run Google-powered apps like Maps and YouTube turned sour with the release of Android, the eventual largest competitor to Apple.
And since then Apple’s patiently waited for the deal to end, opting to simply let the flagship apps collect dust until the time was up (because Apple conveniently assumed developer roles for the two applications) so they could erase and replace them with their own technology. Case in point, the mobile version of YouTube.com far exceeds the quality of the application (which only started supporting HD video over 3G last year) and Maps hasn’t changed at all for the better part of the last three years.
So with the impending new iPhone release and iOS6, big changes are on their way with Apple going directly at Google’s throat. Through iOS6, users can pretty much circumvent the use of most of Google’s products. Searching with Siri eliminates the conventional Google search and Apple’s soon-to-be maps app will become the default navigation tool this fall.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s probably a great thing. Hopefully we’ll get a completely redesigned YouTube app, one that’s more intuitive and smoother. And I’d also expect Apple’s navigator to also make some significant strides over Google’s.
So ultimately, despite the financial ramifications for the two corporations as a result of the separation, the user will likely be the winning party. A better Maps and YouTube app, combined with a more streamlined Siri, will only increase the iPhone’s convenience and power over the smartphone market, something that Apple is clinging onto for dear life at this point* even though nobody over there will admit to it. Google, on the other hand, comes out as the loser (at least temporarily), but I’m sure they’ve been preparing for this since Android started picking up steam and the relationship with Apple began to go haywire.
The bottom line is there will definitely be a shakeup behind-the-scenes because of the split and it should give the iPhone a short-term boost. As for the long-term, is it just me, or is Apple’s grip on the mobile industry starting to loosen just a little?
* – That’s a post for another time, but all I can say now is that Apple is dangerously close to letting history repeat itself.