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15 Jun 12 Google Chrome Updated For MacBook Pro Retina Display


Google Chrome Updated For MacBook Pro Retina Display

Google works fast when it comes to putting out new features in Chrome. The dev channel release of the browser just recently added in rudimentary support for Windows 8 and its Metro interface. Their next target is the new retina display in the MacBook Pro.

Google showed off their first effort in updating Chrome for the new MacBook Pro’s retina display. Here’s a comparison image of what is presumably how Chrome looks on both a regular MacBook Pro and the new retina display-powered MacBook Pro. The difference is pretty striking as you can obviously see.

Google Chrome MacBook Pro Retina Display

The new high resolution version of Google Chrome is only available in the Canary Release for now. While those with new MacBook Pros are more than welcome to download it right now, I would suggest that you wait until it hits the beta channel. For those unaware, Canary is the highly experimental version of Chrome that’s updated every night. It’s extremely buggy and might not be user friendly. If you’re a developer, however, have at it and enjoy the high resolution fun.

Google Chrome is just the latest application among many that are being updated to take advantage of the new high resolution retina display in the MacBook Pro. It was announced during Apple’s WWDC keynote on Monday that retina display support would be hitting many Apple applications like Mail, Safari, Aperture and Final Cut Pro.

Beyond Apple’s own products, third-party software developers are also updating their products to take advantage of the new display. Photoshop and AutoCAD have both been updated by Adobe and AutoDesk respectively to take advantage of the new display.

Games can take advantage of the new retina display as well. Diablo III was mentioned at the keynote as being able to take advantage of the new 2880×1800 resolution and AnandTech confirms it. The author found that Diablo III was able to average at about 20 fps at max resolution. It’s playable, but it’s not exactly great either. The on-board Nvidia GT 650M can only do so much. Portal 2 was also able to display at 2880×1800, but the console text was way too small to even see so Valve probably needs to issue an update for it in the future.

As you can see, Chrome is in good company as more and more developers will start to optimize their apps for the new retina display. While I hate that the new MacBook Pro is blatantly anti-consumer from a hardware perspective, I appreciate that it’s driving more people to implement HD displays in their laptops. I think we’ve had enough laptops that can only display in 1366×768.

Article source: http://www.webpronews.com/google-chrome-updated-for-macbook-pro-retina-display-2012-06

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13 Jun 12 Chrome Canary Fixes Rendering Issue with Retina MacBook Pro


How strange — that during WWDC, Apple’s single largest interaction with the public, there would be more news about Apple than usual. Anand is clearly biased.

I look forward to AnandTech NOT providing extra Intel info during Intel Developer Forums, or about Google during IO. And, god forbid we see a whole lot about MS on this site once Win8 launches.

Article source: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6002/chrome-canary-fixes-rendering-issue-with-retina-macbook-pro

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12 Jun 12 Android’s fraying tightrope with app developers


Watching the hoopla around Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference is always an exercise in spin management, as Apple’s promotion of iOS always leads to a flurry of counter arguments from those who prefer (or sell) devices with the Android operating system.

Some of those counter arguments, though, fall more than a little flat, much to my frustration.

Take Matthew Miller, who argues (quite thoroughly), that the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), already has many of the same features that iOS 6 will have when it is released this Fall.

While Miller makes an excellent case, he forgets that ICS only has 7.1 percent of total Android market share, according to Google. Right now, the latest version of Apple’s mobile platform, iOS 5, is around 75-80 percent, depending on who you ask.

When iOS 6 rolls out, because of Apple’s unified platform strategy, I would expect similar market penetration in a matter of weeks. At ICS’ current growth levels of about one percent per month, ICS might be around 10 percent of the Android market by September.

This is the F-word problem: fragmentation. Android is constantly dogged by it, because there are not only seven deployed versions of Android out in the wild, but there are also thousands of Android devices deployed, many of which require some sort of tweaking by an apps developer to get their app stabilized, because of the differing hardware requirements.

So why do developers even bother? It is the open source factor at work?

Perhaps, but I think a better case could be made with the numbers. While Apple CEO Tim Cook touted 360 million iOS devices sold in the platform’s entire lifecycle at WWDC, Android chief Andy Rubin twitter-bragged that 900,000 Android devices are activated every day. (That’s 328.5 million devices per year.)

That’s a mighty big target, and on the surface that would seem to be a big reason to develop for Android. But then you get reports like this one from mobile analyst Flurry that state “[f]or every $1.00 a developer earns on iOS, he can expect to earn about $0.24 on Android.”

Assuming Apple’s devices grow on average at about 72 million devices a year (and I just took a straight averaging here), then an iOS developer could see $72 million on new iOS devices this year, or $78.8 million on new Android devices.

This, more than any other reason, may be what is keeping Android growing. After all, assuming Flurry’s report is correct, then even though an Android developer can expect to make one-fourth per app than an iOS developer, the potential market is four times as large.

This seems a tenuous balance, though: Android’s openness is to be lauded, and it’s clearly doing what it needs to do be attracting new hardware vendors and devices all of the time. But the lack of consistency in hardware and APIs is slowly driving Android developers nuts–something I hear repeatedly from mobile developers.

Then there’s the S-word: saturation. There are growing concerns that smartphones in general are reaching the saturation point in the U.S. When that happens, all this phenomenal growth will vanish and Android’s (and iOS’) numbers won’t look so hot. There are other markets of course, but will they be better or worse in terms of revenue for app developers?

My concern is that sooner of later the problems will become more painful than the pleasure of the potential revenue. Or growth of Android will slow due to market saturation. Either way, app development on Android could slow to a crawl.

If that happens, it won’t matter how cool the Android features are: no new apps will mean no new users.

Read more of Brian Proffitt’s Open for Discussion blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Drop Brian a line or follow Brian on Twitter at @TheTechScribe. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

Article source: http://www.itworld.com/mobile-wireless/280896/androids-fraying-tightrope-app-developers

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12 Jun 12 Android ICS already offers more than what is coming in iOS 6


Apple officially announced iOS 6 yesterday and while it is a welcome update for iOS that I look forward to installing on my iPad 3, most everything Apple revealed can already be done today on Ice Cream Sandwich Android devices.

Apple does a good job of taking existing technology and features and making it more user friendly (they did it with iOS 5 last year), but ICS took Android a long ways and the experience on the HTC One X is fantastic.

Apple stated there are over 200 new features in iOS 6 and we will have to wait until the fall to see everything. Developers will be loading up beta versions soon so we will see some more discussions on features over the next few weeks and months.

They did reveal several major features and functions at WWDC, so let’s take a look and compare them to what we see with existing Android ICS. You can check out the table below that summarizes the differences, followed by more lengthy discussion and my opinions. Don’t forget that Google revealed ICS last year and is likely to show off Jelly Bean this month at Google I/O.

Maps: Apple has always included a Maps application, based on Google Maps. As we discussed in May, Apple has decided to finally put some effort into navigation (powered by TomTom) and will be rolling out their own mapping solution in iOS 6.

In typical Apple fashion, the application has lots of attractive visuals with good functionality. It is their first attempt so there is still work to be done, but the new Maps does provide for turn-by-turn navigation, traffic monitoring (crowd-sourced like Waze), location-based integration in apps, and some great lock screen capability.

There doesn’t appear to be any offline navigation support, which is something that Google just recently announced for Android devices.

It also appears iOS owners will lose bicycle, pedestrian, and transit functions seen in Google Maps on iOS 5. Google Maps Navigation is a tried and tested service and application that will be tough to beat.

Siri: Siri looks to finally be getting some functionality that it should have had at launch, including the ability to launch apps, real-time sports, movie, and restaurant information and integration, and support from auto manufacturers for true eyes-free usage.

As a sports fan, I liked the demos at WWDC. Then again, I follow the sports I enjoy most with dedicated apps anyway so it isn’t as critical as it was made out to be. These functions are great to see in Siri, but I wonder how many people will use it past the week or two novelty period. I only used Siri on my iPhone 4S for reminders after the novelty wore off and rarely see people talking to their phone so am still not yet sold on the practicality of Siri.

Passbook: Passbook looks like it takes the best from multiple 3rd party apps like TripIt, Starbucks, Flixster, and more to provide one location for storing airline info, store reward cards and more. It is not a payment system application, but seems like it could move that way in the future.

Mail enhancements: I almost fell on the floor laughing when I saw how excited people were about multiple email signatures coming to iOS. You can now have a different signature for each email account on your iOS device, WOW

You can also now finally add attachments from within the email client rather than having to go to the Photos app and then create an email. However, attachment support is still extremely limited due to Apple’s closed approach to the file system. You can attach just photos and only one at a time.

iOS 6 will also include a VIP mailbox so you can filter people’s email that you really want to see. One thing I love about HTC Sense is this same ability to have groups that let you quickly filter your email with the touch of a tab. Again, nothing new or groundbreaking for Android, but nice to see Apple catching up.

Facebook: iOS 5 brought some basic Twitter integration to the platform and now we see Apple including some Facebook support. Windows Phone launched with Facebook support and Android is the king of sharing capability with the most extensive support for sharing across a large number of services.

Notification center: Like other devices have for years, iOS 6 will now enable you to quickly reply with a text message when a call comes in and you don’t want to answer it. There will also be a Do Not Disturb feature that seems very handy.

If you do a quick search in the Play Store you can find several of these same type of apps available now for Android devices. I never gave much thought to it, but I might just try a couple of these out and find one for my HTC One X.

FaceTime over 3G: Since the launch of FaceTime on iOS, people have been asking for the ability to use it over a connection other than WiFi. Other developers provided this capability through their apps, Skype, Tango, and others. Apple will be making carriers happy in iOS 6 if people use it a lot with restricted wireless carrier data caps. Again, it’s another feature that was expected and good to finally see, but I prefer using Skype since it is able to be used with more people across all platforms.

Video stabilization: You will find that iOS 6 helps you reduce shaky videos, something seen on other platforms for some time.

Some other interesting new features include:

  • Guided Access enhancements that will help those with challenges use iOS devices.
  • Game Center improvements. (I never use this so maybe the improvements will have me finally trying it out on my iPad.)
  • Full screen landscape support in Safari. (will help with iPad browsing for sure.)
  • Safari browser syncing. (It’s teason why I use Chrome on my computers and HTC One X.)
  • Photo stream sharing.

iOS 6 is a welcome update for iOS fans. iOS 5 Apple borrowed quite a bit from multiple platforms and improved the user interface elements. It looks like they did the same again, but ICS already has some solid user interface elements for these features and the differentiation isn’t as great as it used to be.

With Google likely to reveal Jelly Bean later this month at Google I/O I can understand why analysts predict iOS to continue with a fairly flat rate of adoption. Microsoft may also hit it out of the park with Windows Phone 8 and hopefully we see some of what they have coming soon at their June developer conference.

I personally find the HTC One X to be a better piece of hardware than the iPhone 4S and with the customizations and useful glanceable widgets I intend to update my new iPad to iOS 6, but skip picking up a new iPhone when they are announced.

It depends on how compelling the new iPhone hardware is, but iOS 6 isn’t compelling enough itself to sway me from Android or Windows Phone.

Related ZDNet and CNET coverage

Article source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/cell-phones/android-ics-already-offers-more-than-what-is-coming-in-ios-6/7769

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11 Jun 12 New Safari takes a page from Chrome


The new version of Safari combines the search and location bar, and adds gesture support for tabs on Mac TrackPads.

(Credit:
James Martin/CNET)

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple unveiled a new version of
Safari today at the company’s World Wide Developer’s Conference here. The browser takes some visual cues from the competition but manages to maintain its unique take on browsing.

Not unlike Google’s Chrome, Safari 6 ditches its search bar in favor of a unified search-and-URL location bar. As with Chrome, and optional in
Firefox, the search-location bar clears up a significant chunk of the ever-dwindling browser screen real estate. You’ll have more room for extension icons, basically.

During the WWDC keynote this morning, Apple’s new head of
Mac software engineering, Craig Federighi, said Safari 6 has the fastest JavaScript engine of any OS, though he didn’t provide any comparison benchmarks.

The new Safari also synchronizes tabs from iCloud, so you can easily open tabs from other iCloud-enabled devices. Tab syncing has been available in Firefox, Chrome, and Opera — albeit through their own proprietary syncing systems.

Unlike those browsers, the new Safari will also let you “flip” through your tabs on the Mac TrackPad with new gestures. The Tab View feature lets you scroll through your open tabs in what appears to be a style similar to Cover Flow. When you use it on a Mac, though, the TrackPad gestures will let you use pinch-to-zoom to jump from an open tab to the Tab View, scroll around, and then jump into a different tab.

The new Tab View in Safari 6.

The new Tab View in Safari 6.

(Credit:
James Martin/CNET)

It’s not clear at this time whether the TrackPad tab gesture feature works only in Mountain Lion, or on previous versions of OS X as well. While this could be a very effective way to navigate a dozen or so tabs, it’s not apparent yet how well it will handle three or four dozen tabs.

Federighi described the new scrolling architecture to the WWDC audience as “awesome.”

Safari 6 for Macs will ship with Mountain Lion in July. Apple has not yet said when the update will be available for Windows, or which features will work in pre-Mountain Lion versions of OS X.

Apple’s WWDC 2012: iOS 6, Mountain Lion, and more (pictures)

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57450467-37/new-safari-takes-a-page-from-chrome/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=

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11 Jun 12 Apple's new Safari takes a page from Chrome


The new version of Safari combines the search and location bar, and adds gesture support for tabs on Mac TrackPads.

(Credit:
James Martin/CNET)

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple unveiled a new version of
Safari today at the company’s World Wide Developer’s Conference here. The browser takes some visual cues from the competition but manages to maintain its unique take on browsing.

Not unlike Google’s Chrome, Safari 6 ditches its search bar in favor of a unified search-and-URL location bar. As with Chrome, and optional in
Firefox, the search-location bar clears up a significant chunk of the ever-dwindling browser screen real estate. You’ll have more room for extension icons, basically.

During the WWDC keynote this morning, Apple’s new head of
Mac software engineering, Craig Federighi, said Safari 6 has the fastest JavaScript engine of any OS, though he didn’t provide any comparison benchmarks.

The new Safari also synchronizes tabs from iCloud, so you can easily open tabs from other iCloud-enabled devices. Tab syncing has been available in Firefox, Chrome, and Opera — albeit through their own proprietary syncing systems.

Unlike those browsers, the new Safari will also let you “flip” through your tabs on the Mac TrackPad with new gestures. The Tab View feature lets you scroll through your open tabs in what appears to be a style similar to Cover Flow. When you use it on a Mac, though, the TrackPad gestures will let you use pinch-to-zoom to jump from an open tab to the Tab View, scroll around, and then jump into a different tab.

The new Tab View in Safari 6.

The new Tab View in Safari 6.

(Credit:
James Martin/CNET)

It’s not clear at this time whether the TrackPad tab gesture feature works only in Mountain Lion, or on previous versions of OS X as well. While this could be a very effective way to navigate a dozen or so tabs, it’s not apparent yet how well it will handle three or four dozen tabs.

Federighi described the new scrolling architecture to the WWDC audience as “awesome.”

Safari 6 for Macs will ship with Mountain Lion in July. Apple has not yet said when the update will be available for Windows, or which features will work in pre-Mountain Lion versions of OS X.

Apple’s WWDC 2012: iOS 6, Mountain Lion, and more (pictures)

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57450467-37/apples-new-safari-takes-a-page-from-chrome/?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

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11 Jun 12 Android hits 900k activations per day


The announcement came from Rubin after rumors surfaced that he may be planning to leave Google. In the message, the Google executive said that he has “no plans” to do so.

Apple and Android have been wooing developers as it’s become increasingly apparent that the company that can command the widest, most useful breadth of mobile applications will have the edge in the smartphone war.

A study released last week by the team at the analytics firm Flurry revealed that developers still prefer Apple’s iOS to Android by a large margin. Of new project starts, 69 percent of developers went with Apple’s system over Google’s, though that was down from 73 percent in the previous quarter.

Fragmentation in Android seems to still be a big problem for Google, with 70 percent of user sessions still on Gingerbread, an older version of the operating system. Google is trying to fix this with the introduction of Ice Cream Sandwich, which better unifies tablets and smartphone, but has had less than a year to get its latest push underway. Samsung is clearly the most popular Android handset maker, with six of the top 10 Android devices, the study showed. Motorola and HTC make up the rest of the list, with one exception: the Kindle Fire from Amazon has 4 percent of Android’s market share.

Another problem that’s popped up for Android has been the simple fact that Apple applications seem to return more money per user. According to the study, Android developers earn just 24 cents for every dollar they get from iOS.

The combined effect of fragmentation and lower revenue, the study said, is likely why developers still like Apple.

“In short, Android delivers less gain and more pain than iOS, which we believe is the key reason 7 out of every 10 apps built in the new economy are for iOS instead of Android,” the study said.

Google’s own developers conference, Google I/O, runs from June 27-29, and Slashgear reports the company is rumored to make a tablet announcement.

Related stories:

WWDC 2012: Apple’s iOS 6, Mountain Lion, MacBooks, Macs

Bloomberg: Apple aims to remain apps leader

Nasdaq’s post-Facebook plan is panned

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/android-hits-900k-activations-per-day/2012/06/11/gJQA1tlfUV_story.html

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10 Jun 12 What to expect from Apple’s WWDC event


Speculation has run rampant, as it does every time the Cupertino, California-based computing giant moves a muscle. But some of the guesses make more sense than others.

Here’s a look at some of the most credible reports, with our take on the odds of them being even vaguely true.

Software updates

This one isn’t as sexy as a big product unveiling, but software is the bread-and-butter of WWDC. And there might be some drama here, yet.

It’s about time for a first look at iOS 6, an update of the mobile operating system that runs iPhones, iPads and Apple’s other Web-enabled mobile devices.

The developers in attendance will no doubt hang on every detail. But the most high-profile change is expected to be Apple’s announcement that it’s replacing Google Maps with its own mapping app as the system’s default.

Apple and Google have obviously squared off in the mobile space, with more smartphones now running Google’s Android system, even though the iPhone remains the single most popular phone.

Supplanting Google’s popular maps on its millions of mobile devices would be a big blow in the rivals’ ongoing slugfest.

Looking to get the jump on Apple, Google announced new features to Google Maps on Wednesday, including more 3-D images and the ability to use the product even when you’re offline.

Interestingly, Google only announced the update for people using its own Android mobile operating system.

Developers also may get a closer look at OS X Mountain Lion, the Mac operating system scheduled for release this summer.

Odds: Bet the farm.

Refreshed Macs

Of the nonsoftware speculation, this one feels like the most likely — and could be pretty significant.

For one, It’s been a year or more since Apple’s major desktop and laptop models have been updated. The iMac got refreshed in May 2011, the MacBook Pro’s last overhaul was February 2011 and MacBook Air’s latest model rolled out in July of last year.

Article source: http://articles.cnn.com/2012-06-08/tech/tech_innovation_apple-event-wwdc_1_macbook-air-google-s-android-macbook-pro?_s=PM:TECH

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07 Jun 12 New Google Maps kicks iPhone vs Android battle up a notch


Google is adding fancy new 3D features to Maps and Earth.

(Credit:
Josh Lowensohn/CNET)

Google is aiming to blunt Apple’s upcoming abandonment of Google Maps. As Apple moves away from using Google as the built-in mapping product for iOS, Google is trying to keep control of the mobile mapping market in the way we like to see: By innovating on the product. New features from the Google mapping team will make its maps more fun and more useful.

Will they make Google Maps more fun and useful than Apple’s maps? That’s the big question.

3D: Table stakes
Both Google and Apple now have technology to create 3D maps that include buildings. Neither has rolled the product out yet. Today at Google’s San Francisco office, we saw Google demonstrate its new 3D mapping product that will use its own library of aerial imagery to build fully-modeled 3D cities.

The ability to fly through a city and see all its buildings and trees as if you were “flying in your own private helicopter” is incredibly cool. In the demo we saw, most buildings looked close to photorealistic, although some (in particular the ATT ballpark), had strange artifacts showing.

This 3D feature would be a great spiff for
Android users and a great reason for
iPhone users to download a new Google Maps app for that platform. Except for one thing: Very soon, this won’t be a unique feature. Apple bought C3 Technologies in October, and that company does exactly what the new 3D feature in Google Maps does: It turns aerial photos into 3D models.

So the game will be coverage and usability. Apple’s got the leg up in designing beautiful interfaces, but Google certainly has more experience in geo interfaces, both grown in-house (Google Maps) and from acquisitions, like Keyhole, the foundation of Google Earth, acquired in 2004.

So 3D isn’t going to be a slam-dunk differentiator. What about Google’s mobile feature that lets users download a city map for offline use?

Google is taking maps offline for Android users now. iOS to follow.

(Credit:
Josh Lowensohn/CNET)

Offline: Limited use
This is a good and very useful feature. It’s the kind of thing geeky people tend to ask for and will use, but it’s not one of those differentiators that masses of people will change a smartphone buying decision over. Especially since no carrier will dare advertise it. Picture the ad campaign: “Try offline maps on our Galaxy phones, which work even when our network doesn’t!”

This would be a great feature for Apple, though. The hardware company isn’t beholden to carriers. And an offline map library would fit well in the iCloud pitch. Will Apple ape this feature? Will it matter?

Street View expansion: Ok, that’s fun
What ultimately does matter in mobile mapping is coverage. Google has a very large head start in data: It started by gathering and buying publicly-availalbe maps and satellite imagery, then layered in aerial photos, then went out and made its own library of Street View images. Now it’s going to replace its aerial city images, via contracted and “its own” airplanes, I was told (no drones yet). It is also taking its mapping mission indoors and to the great outdoors.

Google’s new high-tech mapping backpack (pictures)

Google talked about its new Street View trolley cart system for getting photos from inside buildings, like art galleries and airports. It also unveiled its backpack Street View camera system for capturing images from hiking trails, ski slopes, and other areas accessible only on foot. These new Street View vehicles join the Google fleet of
cars, tricycles, and snowmobiles around the world.

Apple is unlikely to launch with the same depth of indoor and off-piste data as Google, and it probably won’t matter much. The main battleground is for city street maps. The rest is for fun. For Google, which makes money from advertising, the indoor mapping will open up a revenue stream, but it isn’t going to make much of a dent.

We need to hear more about cars
As I wrote in my wishful-thinking post before Google’s latest announcement, the real platform battleground for mapping is not the smartphone. Google will run the maps on Android; Apple will on iPhone. Some users will use third-party apps (like Waze on Android or Google Maps on iOS). But cars are a green field and the most important platform for nav apps.

For cars, and the necessary feature of traffic reporting, the more users you have running your geolocation software, the more data you have about how fast people are moving. Apple’s adoption of its own mapping platform means it will now get access to that data from its iPhone users, assuming (and it’s a big assumption) that Apple can hurdle the privacy issues over gathering that data.

Once, or if, Apple and Google are at parity in gathering traffic data, then the battle for the car can begin. Apple will be far behind Google here, though, thanks to its we-must-control-everything attitude on how its products are displayed. Car guys don’t like that so much. But with Android, developers can do what they want.

Back to smartphones, which is what matters right now: Apple’s defection is the best thing to happen to Google Maps. It’s forcing Google to up its game. The Google team has, so far, been doing a good job keeping the innovations coming and keeping its maps database growing. But now with Apple gunning for it, it’s going to have to do even better.

What can Apple do with its maps to leapfrog Google? Stay tuned. All should be revealed next week at WWDC.

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57448567-93/new-google-maps-kicks-iphone-vs-android-battle-up-a-notch/

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12 May 12 Android Payback: Apple to Cut Google Out of Stunning New 3D Maps App in iOS6


New Apple maps image based on C3 3D technology

New Apple maps image based on C3 3D technology

One of the most immediate effects of Steve Jobs’ legacy on Apple is an animosity towards Google fueled by what Jobs saw as the outright copying of iOS by Android. Big tech companies will always be battling titans, but this is more. This is personal.

Still, the two companies have been bound by the mutual dependence since Google’s services are bundled into iOS. And iMore reports that Google may make four times the ad revenue off of their use in iOS than they do from their own Android platform. Apple wants to change that. Apple has already begun intermediating search queries though Siri, effectively cutting Google out of the valuable identity information associated with those searches. Next up is that other large data components on iOS, maps.

It was widely reported yesterday that Apple will likely announce at its WWDC in June that the new version of the built-in maps app in iOS6 will not be fed by Google maps. Instead, Apple has developed its own, in-house 3-D mapping database, based on the acquisition of three mapping software companies between 2009 and 2011, PlacebaseC3 Technologies, and Poly9. The stunning 3D image above is from C3, which, according to the company, uses “previously classified image processing technology… automated software and advanced algorithms… to rapidly assemble extremely precise 3D models, and seamlessly integrate them with traditional 2D maps, satellite images, street level photography and user generated images.” The video below shows a flyover of Oslo using C3′s technology.

So if this report is true, Apple will have a new maps app with much more highly-detailed imagery than Google, collected through military-style reconnaissance without the (ahem) gathering of any personal information. It is a good bet that Apple will finesse the transitions between the different map modes far better than Google’s wonky shift from “map view” to “street view.” What could go wrong? Although Apple now owns the source and can engineer accordingly, the new app likely runs more image data through the pipe, so performance on mobile devices—where it’s most critical—is going to be an issue. Apple may have to build in detection of the processor speed of the requesting iOS device and send a thinner stream to older iPhones than to the new quad-core iPads.

There is obviously an interesting business story here about how Apple and other tech companies are trying to chip away at Google’s dominance of web services. But even more interesting, to me, is the end-user’s story. The bloody competition between Apple and Google is leading Apple to create more innovative user experiences for its customers, and that is a good thing. An operating system is just a container for content, and recreating content is much more difficult than just knocking off its container. By creating a new source for the content of maps on iOS, Apple is making their platform more distinct from Android, as if to say, “You can only copy so much.” Although Apple is always improving user experience, this particular effort might have not happened had Steve Jobs not threatened to go “thermonuclear.”

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Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykosner/2012/05/12/android-payback-apple-to-cut-google-out-of-stunning-new-3d-maps-app-in-ios6/

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