Why Apple Had To Do Maps: A Mobile Engagement Analysis

I was pretty sure that the v1 (beta?) Apple Maps would have gaps and gaffs, and of course it does. Mapping is hard to do as this excellent analysis from Adrian Covert at Gizmodo makes clear. (If Apple had it to do over again, it might have pushed harder to keep the Google Map app in place while Apple launched a beta map alongside it. Maybe it still can.)

But Apple had to do maps. It had no choice, really. The reason is simple: maps are the place where mobile matters most. Here's the logic:

  • First, maps are where the physical context of our daily lives and reality intersects the digital intelligence we access online. It is precisely because maps are where the physical best intersects the digital that Apple had to offer maps. Maps are extremely valuable to customers, hence to Apple. It couldn't outsource it to Google forever if it wanted to develop a unique mobile engagment experience to customers. For that matter, Microsoft has to do (and is doing) exactly the same. It's also why Nokia purchased NAVTEQ in 2008  for $8.1 billion.
  • Second, developers are finding fabulous ways to exploit maps in their applications. Overlaying just about anything on a map makes the map more valuable. Shoppers benefit. Cyclists benefit. City planners benefit. Even the military benefits. Anybody dealing with physical locations needs maps in their app. And that means great APIs to access the map, a way to put layers over the map to show important things, and a way to crowdsource new information. Flickr's photos on maps in a great way to explore a vacation spot before getting on an airplane. All because of great map apps.
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iPhone 5 Cements Apple's Role As An Enterprise Stadium Rocker: What CIOs Need To Know

Quick review: iPhone launches in 2007. CIOs don't care. I perk up. 2008. Apple launches App Store and Exchange ActiveSync support. CIOs start to wake up. Kraft's Dave Dietrich uses iPhone to revitalize Kraft's technology culture. As a software developer, my spidey senses start tingling. 2009-10. Apple adds hardware encryption, hooks to device management suppliers like MobileIron and Good Technology and Boxtone, a hundred million customers, and oh yeah, CEOs start bringing Christmas iPads to work and asking for email support. 2011. Apple App Store really picks up steam. (Android does, too.) iPad at work reaches 67% of the installed base according to our global information worker survey of 10,000 of your employees. iPhone gets slimmer, and Apple sells more of them than ever.

Now it's 2012. Apple sells over half a billion iOS devices since 2007. Apple is the major go-to smartphone for CIOs coming off a BlackBerry addiction. Apple is the dominant supplier of business tablets. Microsoft introduces v8 of its Windows Phone OS (not so many of them sold yet) and announces a tablet. And as colleague Thomas Husson points out, Google lights up 1.3 million Android devices a day. And Apple launches iPhone 5 running iOS 6.

So what does this announcement mean for CIOs? I'd say, CIOs need to tune into popular culture and divine what's happening in the consumer market. Because whither goeth the consumer market goeth the business market. You heard it here. Here's what iPhone5 means for the enterprise:

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