Apple: We’ll take the in-vehicle GPS market now, thanks

“Buried in the usual WWDC keynote fanfare was, I believe, the most disruptive announcement made by Apple: updated maps and mapping features for the iOS platform,” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes for ZDNet. “Now, on the face of it, maps might not seem either all that sexy or disruptive, but the mapping platform built into the iPhone and iPad is quite a core feature that’s leveraged throughout the platform. By replacing Google’s mapping service with its own — using data from companies such as TomTom and OpenStreetMaps and others — Apple is putting itself at the center of the action.”

“However, there was more to the mapping announcement than just a change of provider. Apple also unveiled a new and highly requested feature — turn-by-turn navigation. This is where the new mapping app starts to become disruptive,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “This has significant implications for the entire in-car GPS market. And by implications, I mean casualties. And those casualties will be companies that sell in-car GPS receivers, companies such as TomTom and Garmin.”

Kingsley-Hughes writes, “Apple sells millions of iPhones and iPads every quarter, and these people no longer need to buy a secondary device to get them from A to B… In addition, vendors such as TomTom and Garmin also earn a significant revenue from selling annual map updates. iOS users will save money here because the maps will not need updating because Apple will be handling that at their end. This saves the owner a significant chunk of change, and will hurt the bottom line of the in-car GPS vendors… But that’s not all. The existing GPS vendors are going to get hit a third way. All the big names have apps which replicate their in-car GPS hardware experience on the iPhone or iPad.” No need for those apps now.

Kingsley-Hughes writes, “With iOS 6, Apple will put an in-car GPS receiver into the hands of millions of people, and that is going to have a very serious effect on the in-car GPS market… A year from now the in-car GPS landscape is likely to be a very different place.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Imagine being a fly on the boardroom wall in Garmin HQ this morning. We can almost hear their CEO:

“We have our strategy. We’ve got great GPS devices in the market today. You can get a Garmin nüvi 1100LM for $89. It’s a very capable machine. It’ll do street maps. It’ll do turn-by-turn. It’ll do rerouting. It’ll do voice-prompts. Right now, we’re selling millions and millions and millions of turn-by-turn voice navigation devices a year; Apple is selling zero turn-by-turn voice navigation devices a year. So, I kinda look at that and I say, well, ‘I like our strategy. I like it a lot.‘”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Arline M.” for the heads up.]


  1. I have a Garmin that I still use in one vehicle but largely my primary GPS device has been an android phone with Google’s excellent navigation app.

    So yeah more phones with turn by turn will hurt the market somewhat.

    What’s up with the rumors that only the 4s and ipad2 will get turn by turn?

  2. Did anyone notice the automakers adding a button to the steering wheel to activate Siri Turn By Turn? The list included GM, Chrysler, Audi, BMW, VW, Mercedes, Toyota, and Honda.

    Noticeably missing is Ford whose MyTouch is done by Microsoft. This is why Ford owners need to pull a fuse to reset MyTouch which regularly bombs. If an upgrade comes out, the owner must make a service appointment.

  3. Garmin still has a lot of devices in nautical, flight and motorcycle (weatherproof) markets that the iPhone can’t service. Heck, the damn thing doesn’t even know where it is with no network available. Also if i would be using the iPhone on a trip to europe it would kill the travel budget on data use alone. Tomtom with only car and moto navi (one trick ponyshow) is the one that is lucky now.

  4. I live in California. It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving. It is illegal to use an iPhone (or other smart phone) for ANY PURPOSE while driving. No Maps, no voice memos, no instant messaging. It is illegal to use the Maps app on an iPhone while driving, but it is not prohibited to use a dedicated (non-phone) device such as provided by TomTom and Garmin.

    1. Dear Judge:

      My iPhone was in single-app-mode, therefore it complied even with your bankrupt and corrupt nutjob-packed state’s stupid fscking “law.” Case closed.

    2. And *that* is an idiotic law, serving the heat of the moment without actually solving anything. I predict if Apple does make a mini-iPad that can dock with the car, that the law will be changed.

  5. It’s not really that big a deal. I use Mapquest 4 Mobile on my iPhone all the time for turn-by-turn. The difference now is that it will be preloaded and supported natively.

  6. I have had TomTom on mobile devices long before there was an iPhone and I have it on my iPhone now. But as others have indicated, the problem with Apple’s product/solution is that cell coverage is required. What is to done when there is no cell coverage or SIRI is unresponsive? I still have to revert to a third party voice dialer when SIRI won’t respond. Similarly, I expect that I will continue to need and use TomTom.

  7. Even before Apple makes the maps upgrade, my iPad has better mapping than my wife’s Highlander nav system. I started looking into hacking an iPad for use as a nav system in the next car I buy. People are doing this as can be seen sites such as GPS Review. A couple of interesting issues. If the iPad is out do satellite line of sight! A remote receptor might be needed. Its GPS works without cellular, but it will be a dot on a blank background without online maps unless you store maps on the iPad. I looked at an Audi with a nav screen that resembles an iPad attached to the dash and which will use Google Maps and Google Earth. I’m dreaming about an iPad with iOS 6 instead!

  8. Well, at least TomTom will continue to collect revenue on the millions of iOS devices running iOS6. I’m sure that will make up for some lost sales.

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