Apple’s iPhone prepares to upend yet another market: real-time, turn-by-turn navigation

Buy a Mac, Get a FREE Olympus 10MP Camera“Add another to the list of markets likely to be upended by Apple’s iPhone. Buoyed by both improved hardware and more capable software for both new and existing phones, Apple is fearlessly extending its reach into new areas, incumbents be damned. One market where the incursion is likely to be felt most keenly is the fast-growing field of real-time navigation,” Stephen H. Wildstrom reports for BusinessWeek.

“The iPhone 3G, released a year ago, included a GPS receiver for location information and a very good version of Google (GOOG) maps. But in the software development kit for that device, Apple specifically barred the creation of real-time, turn-by-turn navigation systems. With the June 17 introduction of the new 3.0 version of the iPhone software, that restriction has been lifted for the 3G and the new iPhone 3G S,” Wildstrom reports.

“Two navigation companies, TomTom and Networks In Motion, have jumped into the fray with very different products and business models, but both are extremely disruptive to the existing order. By offering a nav package for the iPhone, Amsterdam-based TomTom, a leading maker of standalone personal navigation devices (PNDs), seems to be following advice by former Intel CEO Andrew Grove, who said a company should never worry about cannibalizing its own products, because if it doesn’t, someone else will,” Wildstrom reports. “TomTom has not yet said what either the iPhone app or the car kit will cost, but the app will be a one-time purchase.”

Wildstrom reports, “The disruptive potential of Networks in Motion’s Gokivo is even greater… It’s the first subscription service to take advantage of the iTunes App Store’s new capability for in-application sales; initial purchase of the program is just 99¢, but the service will cost $10 a month. This looks more or less the same to the consumer, but there’s a big difference behind the scenes, because AT&T, the exclusive iPhone wireless carrier in the U.S., is completely cut out of the action.”

Full article here.

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