Interesting article: Personal Navigation on the iPhone: Apple Disruption, Again

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Manj27, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. Manj27 macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2007
    I came across the following article on the forums at Mac Observer which found to be a great read. One that def should stimualte a lot of discussion, so thought I share the contents of it here ..... (I agree with the views discussed) ....

    Personal Navigation on the iPhone: Apple Disruption, Again

    Apple has already shaken the foundations of mobile telephony by introducing a radically new user interface that sets the standard for ease-of-use while concurrently delivering iPod consumption experiences, and marrying iPhone with a radically new business model that presents an operator with an attractive value proposition: to heist their competitors' highest paying and most profitable customers in exchange for a portion of the revenue.

    But Apple is also doing its end run around its competitors in smart ways that capture the essence of classic disruption. One example is in the delivery of personal navigation.

    Upon the introduction of iPhone, pundits and tech analysts pored over its feature list and started the condemnation. No built-in, radio-based GPS, they said ... a non-starter. They took a cursory look at the limited navigation functionalities of Google Maps and its Apple-enhanced navigation user interface and assured us that it was 'not good enough'.

    No GPS radio, no successful way to delivery mobile phone-based personal navigation.

    But that is precisely what Jobs already knew and purposely IGNORED.

    Jobs' choice before him was:

    1) Team up, or outright purchase, a mapping service linked to and dependent upon the global GPS satellite network, facing the competition (Nokia, Garmin) on its own turf, or

    2) Think Different ... deliver 'good enough' personal navigation that was promising, met the needs of an important niche of mobile consumers, uses existing technologies and partnerships to leverage a fresh, inexpensive approach, and above all, A SOLUTION THAT WAS IMPROVING AND ON A TRAJECTORY TO QUICKLY MEET THE PERSONAL NAVIGATION NEEDS OF EXISTING GPS-BASED MOBILE PHONE USERS.

    Nokia took the first route. Their idea of delivering personal navigation was to open their wallet, plunk down $8.1 billion for Navteq, and continue to build power-sapping GPS functionality into their phones, taking on Garmin et al.

    Apple chose NOT to drain their cash reserves nor to degrade the user experience by following suit. They stuck with Google Maps with their own UI interface principles, knowing that they would initially UNDERSHOOT the typical GPS market.

    This is what disruption is all about. Apple's approach meets the definition of disruption in several ways, according to Clay Christensen, the author of 'The Innovator's Dilemma':

    - The competition saw Google Maps-supported navigation assisted by base station triangulation to be non-mainstream technology and that underserves their perceived market.

    - The competition 'listened' to their most important customers and delivered to them what they 'said' they 'wanted' - conventional, radio-based GPS.

    - The competition surely found lots of data to assume that GPS-based personal navigation was the way to go on a mobile phone, and with that data could convince management (and shareholders - in this instance Nokia) that spending $8.1 billion on swallowing a mapping company was a smart investment.

    - The competition could NOT find quantifiable market data on alternatives to GPS-based navigation. That data did not, of course, exist. Not having the data meant they could not persuade their management to seriously consider alternatives. If a market does not exist there is no data to be found, and thus nothing to be analyzed.

    - Disrutpive technologies that initially can only be used in small markets remote from the mainstream market are disruptive becasue they can become fully performance competitive within mainstream market against an established solution. That is exactly what is happening with the Google Maps/base station triangulation/Apple UI enhancemented approach.

    My conclusion is that Apple's personal navigation approach on the iPhone will succeed against conventional GPS-based solutions, like that which Nokia is using. It will because its improving at a trajectory that will meet the requirements of mobile phone users quickly, without the complexity and other downsides (like power requirements, pay-for mapping services, etc.) that competitors are today saddled with. And Apple did not need to foolishly expend a colossal 8 billion for its approach.

    To succeed in this, Apple had to:

    1) Ignore conventional solutions
    2) Ignore conventional advice on why GPS radio-based solutions were imperative
    3) Ignore what consumers were saying/blogging about what they 'wanted'
    4) Move forward knowing the first solution would underserve the market
    5) Move forward without any convincing market data that their approach was correct
    6) Allow an environment where Apple managers were risk-taking enough to not be penalized for 'Thinking Different', or concerned that they would lose their job by NOT listening to their customers, the very thing that would HAVE LED TO FAILURE.

    Progressively, Apple's iPhone personal navigation approach is both disruptive and in line with their underlying principles to deliver the best mobile phone user experience on the planet.

    Don't expect to see Jobs overshoot their market and over-deliver on technologies and services that unnecessarily drive up the cost of the device and degrade the user experience.
  2. memesmith macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2007
    Nice article. I was talking to a friend at 02 the other day, and he was showing me his Googlemaps with Locate me on his N95. One thing to note is that isn't actually cell tower "triangulation" as refered to in this article, it is simply based on one tower's predicted reach.

    The GPS on his N95 uses battery power, doesn't work indoors, and can take up to 10 minutes to get a location from satellites, so by defualt he now keeps GPS turned off and is happy to use the more general location offered by googlemaps.

    But here's the clever thing. He says, when an N95 or other mobile/GPS user uses the Googlemaps App with GPS turned on, the app sends any GPS data back to google, so that over time, the areas of reach of each tower will be more accuratley defined.

    So Nokia, and Nokia users, are spending money to make our iPhone mapping more accurate! Yay!
  3. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    "Good enough" ? What does that mean?

    If I want to transmit my location to my family scattered around DisneyWorld, is 1000+ feet good enough? Maybe, if I also yell out.

    If I market an app wherein a grandmother can press a button on her phone and mark where her car is parked in a huge parking lot, is the non-GPS equipped phone's accuracy good enough? Not really.

    If I want turn by turn directions while walking through a park, is good enough fine? No.

    If I want my phone to automatically go into quiet profile when I enter a conference or class room, is good enough okay? Not at all.

    "Good enough" is for wimpy devices with wimpy apps. You also don't need to spend $8 billion to put GPS in a device.

    Why do people keep trying to explain away missing features, especially when there's no doubt that all future smartphones will have 3G and eventually GPS as well. The arguments against such features are temporal at best.
  4. Matti macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2007
    What a bizarro article.

    Writer praises Apple for technology that:

    1) Apple doesn't even use (might use in the future if rumors are correct).
    2) Apple didn't invent.
    3) Is allready used by other companies.
    4) Can be installed on almost any smart-phone.
    5) Is even used by GPS-phones that the writer so dislikes. (Pretty much any GPS-phone with latets firmware will get initial quick location with triangulation and then 10-20 secs later more precise satellite based location).

    This sort of "We'll defend Steve Jobs even if he tortures kittens with dirty toothpicks"-text would be much better suited to
  5. alFR macrumors 68020

    Aug 10, 2006
    Can't you just text/say that you're outside the door of Mickey's Magic House of Fun Restaurant or wherever? :)

    My personal opinion is that if you can't remember where you put your car you probably shouldn't be driving, but there we go.

    GPS can't do this either in the vast majority of cases as it doesn't work indoors.

    I'm sure you're right, but that's kind of irrelevant to why the iPhone doesn't at present, i.e. (officially anyway and, based on the battery life of other handsets with GPS/3G, probably truthfully) because the battery you could fit into the form factor wouldn't have lasted long enough. Sure, batteries will improve over time and chipsets will get more efficient but the tech probably isn't there today.
  6. skeen macrumors 6502

    Jul 12, 2007
    London, England
  7. soLoredd macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2007
    Man, I guess I'm the only one who doesn't get the whole GPS thing on a phone. I had it on my BlackJack II and it was a pain in the ass while driving because the screen is so damn small. If you want GPS just get a dedicated system, what's the big deal?

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