At its Developer’s Conference Apple announced a map app that will come baked into iOS 6. This service will look and behave a lot like the mapping service we are used to from Google. The service will offer local search as well as real time traffic patterns and turn by turn directions. The learning curve on it will probably be close to non-existent because of people’s familiarity through Google’s offering.
For now the local searching and the reviews will be served by the Yelp service. Another interesting feature of this service that Google’s will not offer is the integration of third party apps into the maps. There is no clarification of what this will look like, but rather it seems to be a hedge allowing for creative approaches by non-Apple developers.
The social media agency needs to be aware that a serious competitor to Google’s maps and local search is about to enter the fray. The immediate way to hedge against this is to prepare a brand’s presence on Yelp. Actively recruiting reviews is necessary. Google’s integration of Zagat and Zagat-like ratings into its reviews makes it easy to choose a competitor at a glance on the map. Once the iPhone users of the world have this new iOS, then the social media agency needs to make sure its clients are well represented on those handests.