When iOS first arrived in 2007, Apple’s fledgling mobile operating system had a whole lot of Google in it. Several of the iPhone’s key features — maps, web search and a native YouTube app — were born of this corporate partnership. It was the dawn of a new mobile era, and things were rosy.
A few years in, the atmosphere between Apple and Google had become strained. And today, with Android having evolved into an industry powerhouse, relations between the two titans have grown positively icy.
With version 6 of iOS, released last week, Apple has finally gathered Google’s belongings and deposited them on the curb. Gone are the Google-powered maps, replaced by an application of Apple’s design. The YouTube player is history. And Apple has rolled out Passbook, its own system for storing tickets and loyalty cards that looks like it will eventually grow to compete directly with Google Wallet.
Even the general systemwide refinements in iOS 6 — and there are over 200 to savor — have the whiff of battle. Siri’s voice-command system is improved, as expected with Google Now hot on its tail. iCloud integration across the OS is smoother, showing Apple intends to make cloud-based services as integral a part of its business as possible to compete with Android’s seamless syncing abilities.
All these changes point to a stronger, fully home-grown iOS in the future — and importantly for Apple, one unencumbered by legacy apps from a former ally. But for now, the wounds of separation remain raw.