With iOS6, is Apple opening up its platform wider while its competitors move to close theirs?

Developers, Apple may be calling out to you by intentionally punching holes into iOS6, holes that they clearly know users prefer to see filled quickly. Interpreting things this way, I think Apple is taking a page from Google’s playbook rather than handing them users on a plater. It’s about increasing the Developer mind-share.

There’s a lot of talk about missing features in iOS6, reactions range from disappointment to outrage. Google Maps is the clearest example,  the native app that shipped until now was working fine and didn’t need removing, so why has Apple taken this step, how could this even make any sense? This would be a counter-example of my post on Feature Debt.

As I look at it from an innovation management point of view however, I think Apple may actually be opening up its platform more to developers in select areas. Every missing feature should be jumped on by developers, for example everyone is now able to build a more accurate navigation to the locations that are relevant to their application. That’s how I interpret Apple shipping a clearly incomplete Maps application with iOS6. At least that’s what it inspires me.

Following this line of thought, I would see Apple’s move with Maps as an offensive to Google – rather than handing them a hand. Sure, a child knows that Google Maps is outstanding. But if you’ve been paying attention, Google’s strategy is to get people to build more and more feature on their platform, hence deepening developer dependence on Google. If Apple makes it possible for developers to build more essential features on iOS, they are playing the same cards that Google and Microsoft are playing. So this would be an offensive move. It’s about increasing Developer mind-share.

Just a thought.

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