Apple To Drop Google Maps As Default On Mobile

Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developer Conference Monday with the announcement of its own maps in the mobile operating system. It's Apple's bid to challenge the dominance of Google maps for all kinds of location-based apps. Maps underlie many important things people do with mobile and up until now Google has had a lock on maps.

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Apple's late CEO Steve Jobs famously said he would wage thermonuclear war on Google. He thought Google had ripped off the iPhone when it developed the Android Smartphone operating system.

NPR's Laura Sydell reports that today, Apple showed off its latest weapons in that war against Google at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: As usual, for an Apple event, the most anticipated announcement came towards the end.

SCOTT FORSTALL: Next is map.

(APPLAUSE)

SYDELL: Scott Forstall, who runs Apple's mobile software division, introduced maps for iOS. The next edition of the system will scrap Google Maps as the default. After the announcement, Forrester analyst Charles Golvin weighed in saying that this is just the beginning of pushing out Google.

CHARLES GOLVIN: There was no question that anything that is Google on the iPhone or in iOS, Apple would prefer to displace with something else.

SYDELL: In fact, there are other signs of the growing rivalry. Apple introduced something called Passbook, which allows iPhone users to put movie and airplane tickets on the phone. The software is clearly on its way to competing with Google's Android-based Wallet system. Apple also announced that it was adding the Chinese search engine Baidu to its Safari browser in China. Google has struggled with that market because unlike Baidu it won't comply with Chinese censors.

Analyst Golvin says Apple has a long history of taking products that exist on the market already and reworking them for Apple.

GOLVIN: And really take the benefit of perspective to add new capabilities to those items that they haven't had, that competitors have led with, and make them even better.

SYDELL: Apple's maps will be in 3D. And last week, Google announced its maps would be in 3D. Today, Apple also unveiled a new MacBook Pro, which doesn't have a drive for DVD's and CDs. That appears to be a bet on its Cloud storage service and the belief that as computers evolve, we will be keeping our photos, software and data on the Internet. Laura Sydell, NPR News, San Francisco.

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