One of the underrated and genius features of Apple's
Yesterday's new iOS and OS X announcements highlighted the company's openness and partnerships with some developers while shutting out other suppliers. To me, this divergence shows how Apple is viewing partners and threats to its current ecosystem.
Best friends forever
The integration Apple now has with Twitter and Facebook
The Passbook app will make some friends, making it easier for airlines, movie theaters, and even merchants to remain front and center on a user's devices. It may cause the iPhone itself to become your wallet in the future. Starbucks, Fandango, and United got the publicity yesterday, showing off Passbook's capabilities to use location and updated data to make apps easy to use and access. I'm sure retailers are going to love being so readily available on the iPhone whenever you're out shopping or looking for a cup of coffee.
Maybe the biggest winner was Yelp
Apple kicking old partners to the curb
The biggest loser of yesterday's event was anyone involved in mapping not named TomTom. Garmin
Google used to hold the perch of the default app on the iPhone and iPad, but the two companies have been dueling over operating systems and patents, souring their relationship. The Google Map app will more than likely still be available on the iPhone, but it won't be in the coveted default position it once was.
Garmin was also a huge loser, with the new Apple app rendering the $49.99 Garmin U.S.A. app and $59.99 Garmin StreetPilot virtually useless with one fell swoop.
Apple also took a major swipe at an up and coming venture-backed app named Pocket as well. The app that saved Web pages and made them available offline won't have much utility for Apple users now that Safari has the same ability to store Web pages offline.
This isn't the first time Apple has picked fights with some of its most popular apps. iBooks is a direct competitor to Amazon.com's Kindle app and is now integrated on all iOS devices. Netflix also has to battle with the Movies app and Apple's integration across devices, making renting and watching movies a breeze at a time when Netflix has stopped growing like a weed.
Watch the expanding empire
It's too early to say whether the Apple Maps app is any better than Google's app, but I am concerned to see Apple building so many of its own apps and encroaching on the territory once owned by competitors. It's only natural given the size of the iEmpire, but it draws away from the creativity of app developers who can be overtaken by Apple with the next iOS update.
With that said, you can see Apple tightening ties with developers it has no interest competing with. Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp have built social networks that aren't Apple's bread and butter, and it's positive for each of them to be more integrated with Apple.
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