Many navigation software providers were already in the starting blocks with a turn by turn navigation application ready, waiting for the go to market from Apple. Companies such as Networks in Motion, ALK, Nav N Go and Sygic have already shown previews of their iPhone applications and we can probably expect to see 15 to 20 more available on the App Store this summer. Obviously, developers of turn by turn applications will have to use their own licensed maps, they will not be allowed to build their application on the map data from the native Google Mobile Maps application in the iPhone.
Three other news bites have been interesting in that press conference. First, developers of LBS applications will also be able to use Apple’s new Maps API to integrate Google Mobile Maps services within their applications. This will offer Google Map tiles, current location, custom annotations and geocoding. Second, the App Store will enable a subscription business model which is very good news, particularly for off-board navigation providers. An in-App purchase mechanism is also going to be available, further developing the monetization options at hand. Third, another developer feature in the iPhone OS 3.0 beta software is the ability for applications to interface with hardware accessories. This is going to be very interesting for navigation providers willing to offer a comprehensive solution with a dedicated smart car cradle.
It is likely that the App Store will create more competition - and price pressure - among navigation software providers, in allowing customers to compare their pricing head to head and across off-board and on-board solutions.