APPLE yesterday opened up a new front in its competition with Google as the Silicon Valley giant unveiled it would ditch Google Maps from its iPads and iPhones this autumn, as it also confirmed closer ties with Facebook.
Speaking at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC), chief executive Tim Cook and Scott Forstall, Apple’s head of iOS, introduced a new version of its mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads with an array of new features, including its own mapping system that lets users zoom over an image of a city in three dimensions.
Apple’s mapping app will also include turn-by-turn navigation and voice direction from Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant app, to allow drivers to get “hands-free” information.
The move shows Apple further distancing itself from Google, once a close partner, which has provided Apple with its mapping system since 2007.
It also signals challenges ahead for global-positioning system providers such as Garmin and Harma, which saw shares plunge last night as Apple’s technology threatens to sideline them.
The iOS 6 software, to be launched in the autumn, also includes integration with Facebook, meaning users can send messages, links and photos to the social network without using an app.
The company also announced revamped models in its Macbook Pro and Macbook Air ranges, including a new high-resolution “retina display”.