Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Challenge for Google in Apple Map Feature

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Challenge for Google in Apple Map Feature

Article excerpt

To catch up with Google, Apple acquired three mapping companies over the past three years: Placebase, Poly9 and C3 Technologies. It is also using map data from TomTom, a navigation system.

Apple has introduced a new version of its mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads that will bring a host of new features, including maps that let users soar over a three-dimensional rendering of a city.

The new map software replaces Google data with Apple's own mapping system, a sign that Apple is further distancing itself from the company that it once considered a close partner. Apple also overhauled its line of Mac computers.

"We are so proud of these products, as they're perfect examples of what Apple does best," said Timothy D. Cook, Apple's chief executive, introducing the products Monday, the opening day of the company's San Francisco developer conference -- a yearly event where Apple shows off its works in progress to entice software developers to continue creating software for its devices. This was the first developer conference that Apple had held since the death of its co- founder and former chief executive, Steven P. Jobs, last October.

Apple updated its ultralight MacBook Air laptop with a faster microprocessor and an improved camera. It made the boldest changes in its computer line to its high-end laptop computer, the MacBook Pro, which is now one-quarter thinner than the older model and has a high-resolution "retina display" akin to the one on new iPads and iPhones. Apple was able to slim down the laptop, which will start at $2,200 for a model with a 15.4-inch screen, by eliminating its DVD drive and getting rid of its hard drive in favor of a faster kind of storage called flash.

Apple's decision to drop the DVD drive echoes past choices by the company to drop technologies in its machines, like floppy-disk drives, that it viewed as outmoded, even though some consumers initially grumbled about the changes.

The new mapping system for Apple's mobile devices will provide drivers with turn-by-turn directions, a feature that has long been available free in smartphones running the Android operating system from Google. Apple created the 3-D view in its maps service, called Flyover, by shooting aerial photographs.

Since the introduction of the iPhone, Apple has relied on Google's data to drive its maps software. Its abandonment of Google Maps underscores the heightening tension between the two companies. Though they were once collaborators, the relationship gradually eroded after Google released Android. Now Android is the top mobile operating system in the world, and the two companies compete directly in several markets.

To catch up with Google, Apple acquired three mapping companies over the past three years: Placebase, Poly9 and C3 Technologies. It is also using map data from TomTom, a Dutch manufacturer of navigation systems. …

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