Of Course, Apple Is Using AutoNavi for iOS Maps in China
When Apple’s iOS 6 mobile operating system debuts later this year, it will showcase a new “blow-your-head-off” mapping application that replaces Google’s mapping back-end. And while that app has been largely developed in-house, Apple has tapped a few third parties to supply it with data. The largest: Digital map provider TomTom, which has gone on record confirming its alliance with Cupertino. But there are others as well. The latest to be outed: AutoNavi, which has been rumored to be working with Apple since the official announcement of iOS 6 maps at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this summer.
Sources familiar with the matter tell Bloomberg and AllThingsD that AutoNavi is supplying Apple with maps of China for use in its iOS 6 mapping application.
Which is a no-brainer.
For one thing, TomTom already uses AutoNavi, so if Apple is working with one, it is de facto using data from the other. For another, AutoNavi is the most widely used mapping app in China, with close to 26 percent market share, according to Analysys International. At the end of the first quarter, it had more than 29 million monthly active users, and some 52 million users total.
Little wonder that Apple is using it as a provider for iOS 6. As we’ve often noted here, Apple is working hard to make its products more appealing to Greater China, which represents a huge opportunity for it. When the company last posted earnings, it reported a record $7.9 billion from the region — triple what it had reported a year earlier. As CEO Tim Cook said at the time, “It is mind-boggling that we can do this well.”