Apple is taking back control of their ecosystem, and removing Google Maps as the default maps provider in iOS 6 was the long anticipated next step. And while Google is about to lose their pre-bundling and deep integration for iOS, there has never been a better time for them to step up their iOS maps product. For years there have been rumors of Google Maps with turn-by-turn navigation coming to iOS. And there has never been a better time than now to make this rumor our reality.
In a few short months Apple will begin rolling out their new homegrown Maps product to iOS devices. However, the full product experience will only be available to units using an A5 or newer processor. In other words, the hundreds of millions of iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS users out there are not going to get the complete iOS Maps experience. As older devices, most of these units will be eligible for a subsidized carrier upgrade in the next six months.
Putting the most incredible Google Maps experience possible on these millions and millions of handsets would open up an incredible new potential market for Google's Android OS. Let Apple's million of non-fully-upgraded customers experience as much of Android as possible. It's time for Google to encourage switchers through non-native-OS product sampling.
On that note, Microsoft would likely be well served to do the same.