How iOS 6 is elbowing in Google and Facebook’s turf

ios 6 competes with fb and googleIn case you were hiding under a rock, Apple recently came under some heavy criticism for replacing Google’s Map app with its own competing client, effectively wiping all things native and Google away with the iOS 6 upgrade. While Apple removed native Google products, it did just the opposite for Facebook and also integrated the social media behemoth into iTunes as well as natively into iOS 6. But despite the seemingly different approaches Apple is taking in regards these two platforms, the iOS 6 upgrade could actually pose a threat to both.

Apple’s brand remains strong

The backlash from the Maps fiasco has been palpable—users have been complaining about inaccurate addresses, missing landmarks, and a lack of public transportation information on Apple’s version of Maps. But while the premature release of Maps likely tarnished a brand synonymous with perfection, it’s also showed us how badly Apple can mess up and still see high adoption rates. It’s those numbers that, despite any user outrage, should make Google Maps — and for that matter, Facebook and its photos application (we’ll get to that shortly) — a little nervous. Apple has released so-so competitor products, and even though they might not be better and they might not be gaining a lot of early love, the iOS reputation might be enough for the brand to coast on.

Google Maps has more ground to lose

apple mapsFor all the flak Apple is (deservedly) getting for replacing Google Maps before it could perfect its own application, Google will likely be hit harder than Apple. Ever hear about losing the battle but winning the war? iPhone users are unlikely to give up their Apple devices and switch to an Android device simply because of an inferior map application. Instead, they will turn to other increasingly popular apps like Waze or MapQuest, and the longer it takes for Google to come out with its updated iOS app, the more comfortable users will get with the alternatives. Clearly, Google has more to lose here.

Google is reportedly planning on releasing its new iOS Maps app—despite Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt’s earlier announcement that the company hadn’t made any moves to do so. When asked about whether or not Google had immediate plans for an updated iOS 6 version, Nate Tyler, a representative at Google, says, “We believe Google Maps are the most comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps in the world. Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system.” Tyler didn’t expand on a timeline for the new App, but a recent article in The New York Times reported that Google has plans to have its iOS 6 Maps app finished by the end of the year — and it would be wise to do so, as quickly as possible, before consumers either become comfortable with a third-party alternative or succumb to the Apple replacement. 

A Facebook photo challenger?

Much attention has been given to the iTunes integration with Facebook — which lets users see if any of their friends Like apps, music, or books they’re considering buying — as well as iOS 6’s native integration with Facebook. But the social media site is also seeing some quiet competition from Apple’s new photo-sharing and commenting feature, Photo Stream.

It hasn’t received much attention yet, but this new mechanism allows users to easily create and share multiple albums through the cloud so that photos instantly appear in a user’s photo stream without having to manually send them. Users can share photos and simultaneously add and edit albums with select individuals or groups without having to deal with privacy issues that worry many Facebook users.

photostream devicesLike Facebook, iOS 6 allows users to comment on and Like photos within shared albums—making engagement with this content, overall, far quicker and more seamless. Users can even create simple slideshows out of shared photos and set background music from their iTunes accounts, a touch Facebook obviously doesn’t provide.

At this stage, and with Photo Stream still somewhat under the radar, it doesn’t yet pose a real threat to the photo-sharing tools Facebook offers. Commenting on whether or not Apple’s Photo Stream could be a competitor to Facebook, Ian Broyles, developer of Versagram, says, “[It’s] not a threat to Facebook in its current form. People know how to share a photo on Facebook easily but I would guess most iOS 6 users don’t know iOS 6 even has shared Photo Stream. Also, the requirement to have an iCloud account is a big barrier to sharing photos that ‘Grandma’ can easily view.”

But it often takes time for new native apps to capture mass attention—and with 100 million iOS 6 users already, and more than 150 million iCloud users—Photo Stream has a pretty solid number of potential consumers. For now at least, Apple users have an interesting—and more personal—alternative to group photo-sharing and commenting.

Slow and steady might just win the race… again

Half-finished and unpromoted products are anything but synonymous with Apple’s brand — many even questioned whether Apple would have prematurely put out its own mapping app if Steve Jobs had still been CEO. It’s clear from Apple CEO Tim Cook’s public apology regarding the Maps fiasco and its hush-hush treatment with iCloud and Photo Streams that iOS 6 may not have been totally ready for its users.

Regardless, it’s here — and also regardless, we’re using it: 60 percent of iPhones are running iOS 6 now. With all the new iPhone 5s consumers are pocketing — five million iPhone 5s were sold within the first three days of its release — that number is only going to go up. Like always, Apple can do no wrong; or rather, it can do a lot of wrong, and we’re going to put up with it and adopt what it throws our way, and that’s something that should serve as a bit of a warning for Google Maps and Facebook Photos. Apple’s new products might not be shining now and they certainly aren’t beloved, but they will undoubtedly get used — and those are that numbers that matter in the end.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Computing

The iPhone’s Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts could land on Macs this year

For its desktop computers, it appears that Apple may continue to draw from the iPhone for inspiration. iOS 12 features, like Screen Time and Siri Shortcuts, are believed to be making their way to MacOS this year at WWDC in June.
Computing

Here's how you can download the best free music players for your Mac

Tired of your Mac's default music player? Take a look at our picks for the best free music players available for your Apple rig. Whether you're a casual listener or an audiophile, you're sure to find something that fits your needs here.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Trash

Looking to get into shape? Snag one of these fitness trackers

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Deals

Apple’s MacBook laptop is on sale for just $800 for a limited time

If you have your heart set on a MacOS-powered laptop, B&H has a sale on Apple's MacBook that takes the price down to $800. Only select models are on sale right now, but you can score up to a $600 savings if you act quickly.
Mobile

You've spent a grand, now don't skimp on a screen protector for your iPhone X

Wondering how to protect your new iPhone X against scratches and drops? Look no further than our list of the best iPhone X screen protectors, which includes screen protectors designed to reinforce your phone's front panel.
Mobile

Apple and Qualcomm settle all disputes, reach six-year agreement on chips

Apple and Qualcomm have announced that they have settled all disputes between them around the world -- and not only that, but have also agreed to a six-year agreement for Qualcomm to supply Apple with chips.
Deals

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for April 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for April 2019.
Mobile

Keep your new iPad (2018) sparkling with the best screen protectors

Your iPad sports a stunning 9.7-inch screen and you'll want it to stay that way. The best iPad (2018) screen protectors guard against cracks, scratches, and even smudging from your fingers. Check out our top picks here.
Mobile

Sidestep banking fees with the nationwide launch of T-Mobile Money

T-Mobile has launched its Money banking service nationwide in the U.S., and it offers an extremely tempting set of features for everyone, including industry-leading interest rates, a powerful app, and no banking fees.
Mobile

Charge and sync with the best Lightning cables for your iPhone or iPad

If you’re looking to replace a lightning cable, or in need of something a little longer or tougher, we’ve got you covered. Here are 10 of our favorite cables for the iPhone and other iOS devices.
Mobile

The Best iPhone 7 battery cases to give your phone some extra juice

The iPhone 7 doesn't have terrible battery life, but you never know when you'll need to juice up on the go. To help, here are the best iPhone 7 battery cases that can keep your smartphone charged and ready for long-term use.
Mobile

Keep your huge phone beautiful with the best iPhone XS Max cases

Apple's iPhone XS Max might be the best large phone the company has ever released. But a bigger OLED display and body means there's more glass to crack. Keep your massive phone safe with the best iPhone XS Max cases.
Deals

Apple iPads and iPad Pros get price cuts up to $150 on Amazon

In the market for a new iPad? Now might be the time to buy -- Amazon has discounted a range of iPad models, including the 10.5-inch, 11-inch, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, plus the standard iPad.