back to article iOS was SO much more valuable to Google than Android - until Maps

So what about this Apple Maps thing then? Isn't it just so wonderful that Cupertino wants to improve the fanboi experience and thus has decided to replicate a perfectly serviceable alternative from a competitor? Sorry, become a competitor to its previous supplier... As we might expect the reality is all about money and really …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not convinced

    That 2 billion figure sounds quite plausible if it includes all advertising coming from iOs devices, and sounds quite absurd if it's the actual amount apple pays directly to Google.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "As background it's worth considering this article from The Guardian: which states that Apple's iOS provides four times more revenue to Google than Android does. Bearing in mind all the caveats about numeracy among the arts grads, I had a bit of a dig through the numbers – and they seem to have proved their point. Apple pays Google to place Google Maps on iKit. Exactly what that number is we're not sure, only that the total revenue flow seems to be four times the amount that Google is getting from pumping Android out to all of its customers, Maps making up some fraction of that revenue."

    That's you "digging through the numbers" better than the "arts grads" is it?

    "Seems to be"

    "What that number is we're not sure"

    "Maps makes up some fraction of that revenue"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmm

      Don't really give that data much credibility. There are now many more Androids out in the wild than iOS devices, so the revenue will be greater from Google's home grown OS. Given that Maps on iOS is still quite a few months away, and it will almost certainly be inferior to Google Maps when it arrives, so Apple users will simply download the Google one.

      Also worth noting that only 10% of Google's revenue from Apple is from maps, the other 90% is from SEARCH, I don't think they will be breaking out in too much of a sweat. I'm guessing they are too busy laughing at the Android catchup offerings in iOS6.

      1. PsychicMonkey

        Re: Hmm

        iOS users may download google maps, but what if Apple kick it off the app store for duplicating what they do?

        1. BorkedAgain

          Re: Hmm

          "...what if Apple kick it off the app store for duplicating what they do?"

          Or, given that this is Apple, what if they sue Google for primplementing the mapping service that they've innovated onto iOS?

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Hmm

        >Androids out in the wild than iOS devices, so the revenue will be greater from Google's home grown OS

        They don't get any money from makers of Android, they get money from Apple for bundling maps

        You don't work for a bank do you ?

      3. Mad Hacker

        Re: Hmm

        AC: Maps on iOS ... will almost certainly be inferior to Google Maps when it arrives...

        Thanks for the laugh. Truly hilarious stuff.

        1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

          Re: Hmm

          'AC: Maps on iOS ... will almost certainly be inferior to Google Maps when it arrives...'

          Comparing a product that hasn't been released and that you are unlikely to have tested in any way (especially as it sounds like your an iOS hater) is the sign of a bedazzled fanboi. Think before you post, may save some embarrassment.

  3. Alastair Dodd 1

    But they haven't gone totally in house - TomTom appears to be providing a big chunk of the data and possible systems for the new maps so doesn't this make it more of a 2 fingers up at Google gesture rather than saving that much money? I'm sure they got a great deal from tomtom but still paying for the map data

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Plus, TomTom are charging Apple per map, per user (see Guardian source story). Apple will surely pass this massive cost on.

      I really wouldn't be surprised to see TurnByTurn to be a chargeable iTunes per-use purchase... Have Apple stated it will be free, or have people assumed?

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Going inhouse... not what Apple likes to do. It likes to buy in, package nicely and sell on to the customer with a nice margin. Which is why Siri uses Wolfram Alpha, the chips come from Samsung, etc.. Otherwise Apple probably would have bought TomTom for maps and Yahoo for search. They could probably by both for well under USD 20 billion.

      Apple still makes the vast majority of its profits from its hardware and uses the software and services to tie people to it, a point that El Reg's Mr Orlowski made many years ago. This was the unsaid message from the Android swipe last week - the small percentage of IOS users on older versions is the same small percentage on older phones. All the rest have already bought a shiny new one.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I wish they'd gone with Bing

      At least for the UK. It really was the only reason I ever used it-especially the Ordnance Survey layer. The TouchPad has a great Bing Maps app very well too.

      It's a shame: I get why they had to do it but this will make iOS less useful until they add features. Among other things I hear it has no interlinking with trains and buses like Google have done.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wish they'd gone with Bing

        They want to go with a company that isn't involved in the smartphone business.

        Look at how Google limited the iOS version of maps. There was no turn-by-turn on iOS and Android fans pointed that out. Was this due to Google wanting too much for this feature? probably, you don't need to licence on FRAND terms for such non-essential functionality.

        Competition is good, I don't see why everyone moans about it all the time.

        1. The Commenter formally known as Matt

          Re: I wish they'd gone with Bing

          I may be wrong but I believe FRAND applies to patents not services

    4. Uncle Siggy

      Certainly a reasonable play to prevent a hostile buy-up tear-down by Google. Apple doesn't have to start from scratch, and Google has to wonder why they didn't see it coming.

  4. NightFox

    I get the article, but have you *seen* the new maps on iOS6? Although the actual map data is TomTom's and therefore probably broadly comparable with Google's in terms of accuracy, Apple's actual rendering of the maps is awful. It's as if Apple have gone for a sleek minimalist look by avoiding cluttering up the maps with ugly things like road names or geographic features or different road widths for different classes of roads.

    And Apple's proving it's own satellite imagery which, for the UK at least, seems to be broadly comparable with Google's from about 10 years ago in that most of the UK is a mass of green and brown blobs giving the sort of resolution you'd expect from a game of Doom. Some large areas of the UK are actually hidden under massive clouds! Even those areas that are available in a bit more detail do not have the same resolution that Google provides.

    And whatever you think of the ethics of Streetview, there's no denying it's use. That's another thing lost, though it is replaced by Apples showcase 'flyover' feature... of the Sydney Opera House or downtown San Francisco. Yes, this is beta (or at least iOS6 is), but anyone who thinks this isn't virtually the same mapping product that's going to go live in the Autumn is going to be very disappointed. Sure, Apple will continue to improve it over time, but don't expect to be able to do a flyover zoom view of your British rural village home anytime soon.

    Apple, I get the need to ditch Google Maps, but why not wait until you had a viable alternative to offer?

    1. hitmouse

      "Apple, I get the need to ditch Google Maps, but why not wait until you had a viable alternative to offer?"

      Look into my eyes, don't look around the eyes. No other map solutions exist or have ever existed. Apple is creating a category out of whole cloth. Keep looking into my eyes....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @hitmouse ... about as funny and original as ...

        ...spelling Microsoft with a $ sign.

        1. Gio Ciampa

          Re: @hitmouse ... about as funny and original as ...

          ... says the "man" posting AC

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @hitmouse ... about as funny and original as ...

          And, of course, just as true

    2. Neil Barnes Silver badge


      I agree; if you want maps you want good maps.

      For myself, I want OS-grade images at the 25,000:1 scale or better - complete with symbols, contour lines, and suchlike. Link position to it, of course, but actual route planning isn't actually that important.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Neil Barnes

        Bing maps includes all the OS maps at 50,000:1 and 25,000:1

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: @Neil Barnes

          Thanks for that, AC - I hadn't used it before. Now if only I can find a way to turn off the inertia when dragging without having to remember to stop moving the mouse before lifting the finger///

        2. . 3

          Re: @Neil Barnes

          Bing even provides a nice API for the maps too. I wrote a little Python script a while ago to scrape OS maps in both scales for the whole British isles. The tarball of all the map tiles comes to a little over 16G and easily fits on an SD card.

      2. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: @Nightfox:

        Maverick - by CodeSector

    3. Bob Vistakin

      Style over substance has always been the way with Apple. Their cynical targeting of the market segment with those with lower IQ's proves it. But, like antennagate, the fact it can't perform its main function doesn't matter to them as long as it's pretty.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Less technical IT aptitude [does not equal] Lower IQ.

        C'mon Bob, all know people who may have rebuilt motorcycles or have built a successful business, but boast of not knowing how to send a text message or set up their email client. Apple 'cynically' target a market segment with money- i.e baby boomers. But then so do manufactures of whiskies and wristwatches.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Bob and lower IQ

        I suspect your analytical skills may be off, but unlike you I will not consider that a fact unless I have evidence.

        I'm no "fanboi", but I have over 35 years of experience with electronics and computers, to the point of having built a couple myself, and I've worked with practically every OS going, big and small. I use iKit because it quite simply works for me (note: for ME).

        I personally don't care if it's "cult" or not (although it at least lacks a fat idiot standing on stage saying deodorant deodorant deodorant deodorant"), I need kit that allows me to do my work and not get in my way, and doesn't immediately hand off everything to a company known for its privacy violations (Apple makes its money with hardware, which also shows at the considerably lower costs of OS an applications - you try getting a legal version of Windows for £20 or so). What's more, I open my laptop to start working, I close it when I'm ready and it just keeps working and even does backups automatically, and I am one of those unbelievers who has a virus scanner installed because I like facts, not fiction.

        So, for me, Apple is quite simply an intelligent choice. It looks good, it works and is efficient to use. Screw the "fanbois" and cult crap - that is actually something that made me hesitate.

        Thank you, thus, for the "lower IQ" tag which says more about you than about me. Just to prove that, I actually became a Mensa member 20 years ago to annoy someone (it has no real value for me, and I don't really need something to prove myself, hence the anon)..

        1. Peter 48

          Re: @Bob and lower IQ

          "the considerably lower costs of OS an applications - you try getting a legal version of Windows for £20 or so" nice try, but in the span of one Windows 7's lifetime Apple will have released 3 versions of OSX, so in total you will have spent around £60. All of which is an utterly pointless argument, since OSX will officially only run on Apple hardware, so the cost of an upgrade is irrelevant. What's more, at least MS don't have the habit of orphaning tech with each new release, forcing users to upgrade to stay current like Apple do.

          " doesn't immediately hand off everything to a company known for its privacy violations " Then make sure you don't use the end-user agreement and privacy statements of Apple, they are no better than Google or MS.

          "What's more, I open my laptop to start working, I close it when I'm ready and it just keeps working and even does backups automatically" you are describing features that pretty much every laptop since 1995 has been able to offer, regardless of OS.

          " I need kit that allows me to do my work and not get in my way" have you actually tried a PC since the release of Win 3.1?

          By all means choose OSX if you prefer its appearance and interface, but don't continue to rehash the outdated and false arguments of efficiency and stability - "it just works" is little more than a sales slogan with little grounding in reality.

          1. Kirbini

            Re: @Bob and lower IQ

            @Peter, I'm afraid you're the one who comes off as outdated. When's the last time you actually used OSX?

            Like this: "What's more, at least MS don't have the habit of orphaning tech with each new release, forcing users to upgrade to stay current like Apple do". You've got that completely backwards. Apple has done this exactly ONE time since OSX debuted and that was the switch to Intel processors. But even then I didn't have to abandon any printers, external drives or other peripherals. My old PowerPC iMac (10 years old and still used daily) and my new PowerBook still run ALL of my hardware, old and new. How many times have you had to abandon some piece of hardware because there was no Win7 (or vista, or XP) driver for it? I guarantee it's more than "none".

            On laptop sleep, you too are ignorant of the facts. I have had a new, top of the line Windows laptop issued to me every 18 months since the late 90s. I have NEVER had one that I could reliably close and re-open more than ten times in a row without a reboot, which is usually less than a day for me. However, my PowerBook can go months (or longer, never really tried to measure) with the same closing ten ore more times per day without ever needing a reboot.

            I'm a network engineer. I carry a windows laptop because I'm required to. I carry a Mac laptop because it allows me to be more productive. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there is no place for Windows machines, it's just that your argument holds no relationship to my, and man other's, reality.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Bob and lower IQ

              Im afraid your arguments are invalid.

              First, Laptop sleep. Ive only ever restarted mine when an update required it or when my battery died. It sleeps and awakens just fine. I think at the moment Im at around 50 or so Sleep/Wake cycles. Though, I agree, it used to not work well, but Ive never had an issue with it on my issued Dell or my personal Sony. Linux sleep/wake leaves alot to be desired but I notice its more a problem with Xserver and not so much with the Kernel or Fedora. Then again, It may be just my installation or the SELinux configuration as its set up a certain way as to comply with NSA's Information Assurance regulations (Im a US Army Reservist that works more than most reservists, about 37 hours a week, because Im assigned to a Unified Command in Florida's Military Intelligence Brigade, there are three here, I wont name which specific one but its NOT Special Operations)

              Next, device drivers. I dunno if its just me, but Ive never had as issue with drivers since Windows 2000. Vista gave me no issues, neither did Windows 7, with the exception of a US Government-issued Common Access Card (I guess "normal" people call them smartcards) reader that had drivers you have to manually install, and it didnt work very well because they were not designed for Windows, it was officially unsupported though Redmond DID help with it and myself and a technician on the phone spent an hour getting it running after DISA and the Army moved to requiring CAC login only for access to MEDPROS , Human Resources Command's Various systems, as well as anything at the classification level of SECRET over the SIPRnet. At the time I had to have one to work, and alot of it was from home, but only about 1 in 2500 Servicemembers need one. Being a Reservist Career Counselor sucked in that regard because the US Army Reserve, especially in HR related areas, ALWAYS gets the shit end of the stick when it comes to equipment. When I went back to 35S, my original job, and then over 352K, an Intelligence Warrant Officer Job, I was and am much happier because at least our equipment's standardized.

              So before calling someone ignorant of the facts, you might want to figure you do not know everything about every user yourself. Even the dumbass 19 year old 25N's (Nodal Network Systems Operator/Maintainer) at Private First Class and (even worse) the Specialists that have 4 year degrees and think they know everything that I manage at my unit aren't as arrogant as to assume they know every single use case, which you may not mean and Im not downvoting you because you may have misspoke. I know yours differs from mine, which differs from Peter's, which differs from Lewis and Andrew's, and Im sure you're wise enough to realize that yourself.

            2. Philip Lewis

              Re: @Bob and lower IQ

              My Veep at a former client once noted that he "joined Mensa" while in High School, in order to improve his chances with a female classmate, whom he had discovered was also a member. Sadly, she still wouldn't go out (read: sleep) with him, so he quit Mensa.

              Disclaimer: I have never tried to join Mensa

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @Bob and lower IQ

                As the original poster of that comment I think it's worth adding that Mensa, like a PC, may work for you - it just didn't for me.

                I personally don't care what platform someone uses as long as they get their work done (and as another poster, I also have done government, police and military work). As I stated, OSX works for me whereas the previous God knows how many years of patching and updating didn't, but it's still quite possible that I'll have to use Windows in client environments. That is no argument to diss it - the client took that decision and I have to roll with it.

                The whole "you use that platform and mine is better" discussions annoy me. What is the point of it? I'm sure other people have chosen for reasons they know best, what gives anyone the right to tell them it's a bad choice? I'm OK with people advocating their motivations (you may learn something new, after all), but that can be done factually, without the aggression, the name calling and the unwarranted assumptions.

                Anyone deploying those methods signals to me they are so unsure of their facts they need to divert the attention..

          2. ThomH Silver badge

            @Peter 48 (Re: @Bob and lower IQ)

            Since 2006 Microsoft have launched Windows Vista and Windows 8. In the same period Apple have launched 10.5, 10.6 and 10.7. Both have their next release planned for this year.

            So, totals to the end of this year will be: Microsoft: three releases, Apple: four.

            In your estimation, that's three times as many paid-for releases as Microsoft?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Peter 48 (@Bob and lower IQ)

              I just checked ... I am running 10.6.8 ... nothing seems to be broken, so no upgrades for me yet. I checked the other MACs "nearby", all are still running 10.6.x or 10.7, whatever they came with when new.

              I would suggest that "upgrading" is not as necessary for your average "Joe" as some nerds might believe.

        2. Tano Andreus

          Re: @Bob and lower IQ

          Well I became a Mensa member 30 years ago and later went on to invent the adjustable mankini. My more notable inventions include the the international space station and the push-up bra.

          I only did these things to annoy someone (- they have no real value for me, and I don't really need something to prove myself, hence the pseudonym).

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up

          Re: @Bob and lower IQ

          All the Mac users I know have exceptionally high IQ's - I should know, I'm one of them.

          Like yourself, Mr. Anon, I'm platform agnostic.

          I'm not sure what any of this has to do with Maps though. Never ceases to amaze me where these threads sometimes go. It seems you can't mention the word 'Apple' on El Reg with facing a barrage of baffling bullshit from a crowd of blinkered buffoons.

          I thought this was supposed to be a forum for geeks - you know, the types who love tech and don't care who makes it?

          Don't feel the trolls Anon.


          Apple has a long way to go to gain ground in that market. I suspect most Apple users will stick with Google Maps for now.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wait and see? nobody is forcing you to upgrade to iOS6 either.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @nightfox You might want to consider that it's in beta, and (assuming you've used the beta) you might want to check the release notes - specifically the part where it mentions that there's not a lot of content in the Maps app in this release.

      Wait for the public release before judging the content I'd say!

  5. Test Man

    To be accurate, Apple is paying Google for the use of Google's map data. Google doesn't build the Maps app. All Apple is doing is changing map provider and updating the Maps app.

    1. the-it-slayer
      Thumb Up

      Great summary...

      The article could of been summed up in those words above. This customary creation including the ditch of Google has probably been in the making for some years and fruitation of the correct parts to make it's own has come about now. I must admit, there was probably a contract between Google/Apple so that Google couldn't build it's own app whilst Apple was using its data. Google will probably be annoyed that it loses sight several hundred million iOS devices in one swoop. Only the to be legacy devices (original iPad and older iPhones/iPods) will keep the Google Maps rendition.

      1. ed2020

        Re: Great summary...

        "Could HAVE" not "could of"!

  6. Johnny Doe
    Big Brother

    Quote: (as an aside, how close are we to the point where the actual phone part of a phone becomes irrelevant and actually speaking to someone is the last thing anyone does with them?)

    To the under 20's the voice call part of the phone is both irrelevant and inconvenient, as it actually allows their parents to communicate with them. "Communication" is via text, twitter and facebook these days.

    Big Brother because most of them communicate in Newspeak.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm glad I'm old enough to use phones to make calls!

      Even if I do use Google talk to make video calls often, I still use my phone as a Phone very often!

      SMS messages are fine for short messages (amazingly SMS stands for short messaging service??), but they can't replace actually talking to someone!

      SMS for me is just a tool to ask a question when you know the other person might be busy and you don't need an instant response, such as sending 'Pub Tonight?' to a mate who is at work, he'll reply when he gets a chance!

    2. ArkhamNative
      Big Brother

      FWIW, the under 20s (and many 20somethings) avoid Facebook, too. It's also full of parents (and grandparents).

  7. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Apropos of money...

    I'm not a user of either Android or Apple, but do either OSs offer a way to download (Google map detailed) maps of somewhere before you actually get there? While one would not want the whole earth stored, surely you know which bit of it you'll be visiting before you get there?

    I've wondered just how many 'eek, I got back from holiday and my phone bill was six thousand pounds' events are due to phones on bad data roaming deals drawing all the maps in real time (well, that and spam, of course).

    Tomtom (and other services, like the Nokia sat-nag on my phone) store locally of course, but in nothing like the same detail.

    1. gort

      Re: Apropos of money...

      Google has had offline caching of viewed areas in Maps for a while, but has just announced full offline mode for Maps including offline navigation, coming soon. On both platforms you can buy apps with full offline maps, Sygic is probably the best one on Android at the moment.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apropos of money...

        I hope the offline mode allows better caching of an area than their current offering, it was pretty hard to cache a whole trip if you were going a few hundred miles...

      2. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: Apropos of money...

        Or then there's Skobbler/Osmand which allows you to d/l the entire UK (and elsewhere) from openstreetmap. YMMV but coverage of my rural backwater is rather good.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Apropos of money...

      On Google Maps on Android, there is a (not obvious to the non-technical user) option to cache data, but it is

      clunky and I don't trust it (it's my dad's wifi only tablet , and he travels to France a lot). I believe that there are other map apps that explicitly allow caching of, at least, road atlas data.

      Also, you could try for some ideas.

    3. Gio Ciampa

      Re: Apropos of money...

      I believe Google are about to start allowing you to download specific areas in advance so that Maps can use them without needing a signal. No idea though whether you could download the entire UK data in one go - or how huge that might be

      That said - I've been using Navfree and its UK map recently (about 235 Mb - updated every couple of months). Admittedly you have to accept that the data might have errors/omissions, but as it comes from OpenStreetmaps there's nothing stopping anyone from correcting it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I can imagine a VC pitch along the lines of ...."

    Don't think this is to far fetched ... I spent 3 years in Silicon Valley at the end of the 90s and one of my colleagues there once told me of a friend of his who'd made a fortune on a small company he'd helped found - they were working in the area of IC design tools and they business plan was that they looked ahead about 5 years and decided what array of design tools would be required then, looked at the current and planned tools from the major vendors (basically Synopsys and Cadence) and worked out where the gaps were (and possibly also where one company had a gap where the other would have a tool). They then developed a tool to address one of the gap and then waited until Synopsys came along saying "we need a tool like that, how much for the company" ... and the plan worked!

  9. Richard Gadsden

    Built-in apps

    The other built-ins that aren't purely Apple are:

    YouTube (Google, obv)

    Weather (Yahoo)

    Stocks (Yahoo)

    YT is basically a client so they don't have to run Flash - now that YT is HTML5, they probably don't need a specific client for it.

    Weather and Stocks seem to be things that are common for search engines - Yahoo, Bing and Google all have them, so Apple might switch those to a search engine provider.

    1. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Re: Built-in apps

      Please no! Weather forecasts should be provided by local weather forecasters who have a clue.

      1. Kevin Johnston

        Re: Built-in apps

        Well that kills it for the UK then with the 'Climate Change Monitoring and Metrology Office'

  10. frank ly

    As a side issue ....

    "..scandium to the people who make the fuel cells that Apple uses to power its expanding server farms and data centres."

    Are fuel cells used much to provide power to server farms and data centres? How about an brief article on the subject?

    1. Tim Worstal

      Re: As a side issue ....

      Fuel cells are the coming thing. It's to deal with the intermittency of solar and wind.

      I'll pitch the editor on it....

    2. M Gale

      Re: As a side issue ....

      Fuel cells are reliable, durable, efficient and can be built to deliver rather obscene amounts of juice if you need it.

      They're also sodding expensive per watt.

  11. SMabille

    How long before Apple buys TomTom?


    1) TomTom shares have go down a lot in the last few year.

    2) Apple is very likely to become the biggest income share of TomTom

    3) Providing turn-by-turn and traffic update on iPhone will hit TomTom own products and kill TomTom ios apps.

    4) Down the line, Apple could either but TomTom or threatened them to move away and pick up the infrastructure at a a fraction of the price after TomTom collapse...

    As the article says it would make sense to Apple to bring the whole service in house.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How long before Apple buys TomTom?

        Well I ditched tom tom for Google Navigate on my Android phone 2 years ago, Google maps didn't show me driving through a field when I was actually on a 10 year old bypass....

        I wouldn't ditch TomTom for an iPhone app though, they are too tiny to use while driving...

    2. magnetik

      Re: How long before Apple buys TomTom?

      Do you think Apple wants to deal with the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of existing TomTom devices out there? If they bought them they'd still have to support all the legacy crap, I seriously doubt that would ever happen. If, however, TomTom split off the mapping part of the company Apple could consider that for a buyout.

  12. Anomynous Coward


    "how close are we to the point where the actual phone part of a phone becomes irrelevant and actually speaking to someone is the last thing anyone does with them"

    That's pretty much me already. I make almost no phone calls but send a lot of texts and emails, and use apps'n'maps.

    I probably wouldn't buy a phone that had no voice call capability at all but I'd consider one that only had VOIP options.

    1. steogede

      Re: "Phones"

      Yep, me too. Mine is basically a very nice PDA/mediocre portable gaming device, with the benefit of being able to make phone calls.

      1. 100113.1537

        Re: "Phones"

        I just wish my android phone was actually as good a PDA as my old TungstenE!

        The 'phone is much slower to do the PDA things that was the main reason to get it and I have to use a flakey 3rd party app to synch with my PC calender and address book (I don't do cloud storage - I may be a dinosaur, but I am a dinosaur who likes to take responsibility for his own data).

        Turns out I can still buy new a new TungstenE2 on eBay - for 2-3 times the price of an unlocked android 2.3 smartphone! Hmmmmmmm

    2. Steve the Cynic

      Re: "Phones"

      I wouldn't buy a VOIP-phoning only phone - I work in France near the Belgian border, and mobile reception in my office is horrible, so much so that I often lose data connectivity - no 3G, no EDGE, no nothing, except good old GSM voice.

      Sometimes, even if I can get a decent data signal, it's on a Belgian network, so data roaming issues bite me hard. As a result, I have my phone locked on to its home network (and no, Apple, I don't like being forced into the Settings app every time I get on the Metro...), and so it goes...

      FAIL for the idea of a GSM-voice-free phone.

  13. gort

    The Graun article is wrong on Google's revenue from app sales. Google make nothing from Android app sales. The developers get 70% and the rest is split between the mobile carrier and the payment processor.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Isn't Google the payment processor in most cases, anyway...

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. gort

        Re: Semantics

        On this leaked document the split is 5% to Google (which they say is for "operating costs", and at least 2% of which will go to Visa/Mastercard), and 20% to the carriers. It may be different for other countries/carriers.

        1. PsychicMonkey

          Re: Semantics

          So the developer get 70%, google take the remaining 30%. 20% goes to the carrier 5% to google, what about the other 5%?

    2. M Gale

      ...the payment processor being Google Checkout, you mean?

      Yeah, I have to use pre-pay mastercards for app purchases because they don't like my bank card. I'm not changing banks for the sake of a portable toy and a search company that doesn't like implementing SecureCode.

  14. Number6

    I used to talk on the phone once

    "(as an aside, how close are we to the point where the actual phone part of a phone becomes irrelevant and actually speaking to someone is the last thing anyone does with them?)."

    Speaking? How quaint!

    You mean my email and text device lets me talk to people too?

  15. Dave 126 Silver badge

    thoughts on search...

    There is a difference in what I want from a search when at home or in the office, and when using a mobile device. Google doesn't always serve me well when I'm on the hoof.

    Examples of mobile searches: Addresses, telephone numbers for businesses. Product reviews for a cut price product I've spotted in a shop and are tempted to buy. Wikipedia to settle pub arguments (the same reason the Guinnesss Brewing Co introduced its Book of Records).

    Just posing the question: is there enough of a discrepancy between mobile and desktop searches to allow Apple to compete with Google? (I have no idea)

    1. David 138

      Re: thoughts on search...

      I would imagine the data is filtered and delivered a little more condensed to a mobile phone, but you can view full results on most phones nowadays. However replicating Google has been tried by many people and nothing has come close due to googles sheer popularity and integration. In search you have to hit the ground sprinting just to keep up. Its also not an industry you can buy, unless you buy Google because all of the other search engines are already failing wastes of space.

    2. Darryl

      Re: thoughts on search...

      I just can't see people accepting anything other than Google for search. The 'average' smartphone user (and no, I'm not slagging iPhone users) is the user who takes a few photos, sends texts, updates their Facebook status, and maybe makes a call once in a while. You know, the type who really don't need that expensive smartphone and could probably get along with a much cheaper one. To people like these, Google is the internet (or at least the homepage of the internet) These are the people who 'Google' things, and they'd be very confused if they tried to Google something on Bing or some new Apple search engine.

  16. Jeebus

    Bob Vistakin was spot on, those with iDevices are generally of lower IQ, hence they don't need a proper map service as they do not travel anywhere important.

  17. DF118

    Licensing payments for search

    Do Apple actually pay a license fee to have Google search on their iThings? Honest question. I've never owned one, but I would've assumed that Google search, certainly when done through the browser, is license free?

    That being the case, what would the point be of Apple offering its own search, other than to take traffic away from Google (i.e. no cost saving to Apple)?

    1. hodma727

      Re: Licensing payments for search

      Yes, all those people able to afford a decent smartphone (ie., having a good income) must be of low IQ.

      Seriously get a life, go practice talking to normal people, and see a shrink to help with your alexithymia.

      1. DF118

        Re: Licensing payments for search

        @Hodma727.... WTF? Maybe you need to see your doctor about getting your medications upgraded. I was only asking a question. Dick.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Licensing payments for search

      If it is anything like Mozilla, Google will pay Apple a % of the advertising revenue they get from iDevice users in return for making them the default search engine.

  18. jubtastic1

    Some observations

    Unlike Google maps on Android, there's no turn by turn navigation included on iOS' google maps, it's verboten by licencing terms.

    Apple's in house maps app will have turn by turn.

    Google will release a maps app for iOS6, it will almost certainly include turn by turn. Neither Apple or the users are going to pay anything for it.

    Apple aren't going to build a search engine, but they are reducing search costs by shifting the low hanging search queries through Siri.

  19. ewan 3

    610kb per map? Someone invented compression for a reason...

    re: 610kb per map mentioned in the linked blog - doesn't that assume no compression? Just tried saving a screen shot of a 640x960 google map - 150kb as a png in 8bits. Compression for photos would be that much better.

  20. GotThumbs

    "it is also avoiding having to pay out to someone else for their use."

    Not quite, but I'm sure Apple is paying Tom Tom less for the use of its mapping than it was paying to Google.

    It was a smart business decision and also was a way to spite Google. Apple does not play well with others..."You're holding it wrong"

    Also, since Maps is a part of Android and not an add on...Of course Google doesn't make as much on that one app. This "Opinion" article is comparing apples to oranges. Pun intended.

    Personally, I only own Android based products and will never own an IProduct. Just my personal preference. Apple is way to constrictive/closed for my tastes.

  21. Andrew Jones 2

    Apple as far as I understand it - are basically using OpenStreetMap as their mapping engine? They use OpenStreetMap for the iPhotos app - because a legal argument ran for a short while because Apple had accidentally forgotten to mention that it was using OpenStreetMaps... and here is a viewer proving it - however the benefit that Google have (on mobile at least) over Apple/OpenStreetMap is that they have changed from Maps being tile based to being vector based and drawn on the fly. The end result is that Google Maps download a lot quicker than tile based maps and can include a lot more information which can be redrawn in a number of different ways 'on the fly' rather than being part of the tile itself.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Assuming Google Maps remains as an installable app...

    Then I figure iOS users win either way. Either we get a better map product from Apple than the totally outdated crapfest that the current Google Maps app is, or Apple gives us a crap app but Google is induced to give us a better app hoping to get iOS users to install it.

    I know some think Apple will ban a Google Maps app on the grounds it competes with iOS features, but they allow the Google Search app even though iOS has search built in to the phone. Perhaps Microsoft might get into the game at that point and make a Bing Maps app available too. If we go from one app to three I'd be thrilled, because competition would insure things improve a lot.

    While there are some other things I'd improve, I realize they are niche things. I think crap like 3D views are niche too, I certainly don't give a damn about them. Just getting turn by turn is all that is required. Having the maps and satellite photos as up to date as possible is also nice.

  23. GKLR

    Apple doesn't need to build its own search engine

    If Apple wants to provide a search engine to its punters and nobble the Google Collective then all it has to do is replace its current search options with a meta search - e.g ixQuick. Result: people get search results from multiple search engines and Google et all get little or no money...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    from a competitor?

    really? google's maps stuffs has always utilized the output of other firms in this global mapping tech stuff... all that apple is doing at this point is eliminating one for another and getting less since they have now cut out all the others that google was also giving in its mapping technology...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Street View

    If Apple can replicate street view, I'd be impressed.

    Will we see a fleet of Apple branded camera wagons careering around the streets of the world?

    Street View is Googles killer maps application - it really is that remarkable.

    I've used it hundreds of times and when I drive to the location I've viewed online, it really does feel as if "I've been here before"

    It also is massively useful when scanning for property - I'm currently looking to move to new rented accommodation and street view provides a way to have a look at the outside of a property and the surrounding area. Estate Agents are often less than honest :)

    Then we have Google Earth - admittedly, it's not something I use that often, but from time to time I find it useful to brush up on my geographical knowledge.

    Then the standard map view - it's impressive.

    The only thing it's missing is ordinance survey - which is the only time I head over to Bing maps.

    There's obviously a whole other side of digital mapping the public is generally unaware of, there are plenty of niche companies providing a level of data which is quite simply astounding. For instance, mapping which shows all the underground pipework, shows flood risk, detailed vector views of properties - you name it.

    I often wonder whether those companies tie in with Google or Visa Versa, providing services? I suspect they must do.

  26. Wensleydale Cheese

    Life without Google search is perfectly feasible

    @Tim Worstall

    "If Apple decided not to integrate Google search, would people be turned off iOS altogether – feeling that if one cannot easily Google then what's the point of iKit?"

    There are other search engines out there. I have been using a selection of those for several months and I don't miss Google search one bit.

  27. This Side Up


    I'd use Apple Search if it was slick. Google is just a pain in the arse these days because all links indirect via google - results not just requests. It's often quicker just to copy the real URL into the URL bar instead of clicking on the link. Even if it's a long URL that's abbreviated on the screen I copy the link into Edit and delete the google preamble. I'd like a browser tool to do that automatically. So if Apple gives me straightforward direct links I'll use it.

  28. Tim Almond


    How much of that $2bn is maps? Tom Tom are valued at around 1 billion euros, which would suggest it would have been cheaper to have just bought them outright at that price.

    As for creating a new search engine, the problem is that what Google do isn't simply an engineering and rewriting problem. It's not obvious where you start with it. That's why there's only about half a dozen successful search engines, but a lot more social networks - social networking an engineering problem.

    What I think Apple are doing is using Siri to replace search for a lot of the things people want on the go, like booking a table or checking movie times, and having partnerships with the likes of Rotten Tomatoes and OpenTable to do so. This does then raise a question about how unbiased the results will be. Will you get a restaurant suggested that is nearby and most appropriate (which is how Google would decide what comes first), or will you get the ones that are on OpenTable?

    Apple are even comfortable with this, because they like curated content. Google's philosophy is different and is based around openness of data and algorithms to sort it.

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