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With iOS 6, Apple Spawned a New Legion of Enemies

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As is the case with any major update to its mobile roster, Apple (AAPL) put the hurt on its main competitors Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), and Research in Motion (RIMM). But the slew of improvements to the new iOS platform -- announced yesterday at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference -- will also make life a whole lot tougher for the third-party developers that once filled in the sometimes enormous gaps left by Cupertino’s previous operating systems.   
Take its new navigation functionality. As a previous Android owner who’s switched teams after the iPhone 4S debut, I had a helluva time adjusting without Google Maps’ turn-by-turn navigation. Waze, with its cumbersome menu, iffy route suggestions, and incessant user pop-ups about traffic clear on the other side of town, will be an enthusiastic uninstall with the iOS 6 update.

Apple Maps could also be the kiss of death for GPS manufacturers like Garmin Ltd. (GRMN). But TomTom -- which currently sells navigation apps in the Apple Store along with Garmin for a pricey $50, as well as far pricier individual units -- was saved from inevitable obscurity when Apple handpicked it to replace Google as Apple’s mapping data provider.  

Google and Ilium Software have had a nice run with Google Wallet and eWallet, respectively, but that could come to a crawl after Passbook comes out of the gate. Apple’s catch-all for barcode-based store rewards cards, gift cards, electronic tickets, and airline boarding passes will provide customers access to everything with a consistent interface in one central location. Passbook will also likely squeeze out a number of standalone loyalty apps.

What the app does not do is hold credit card or bank card numbers. Yet.

If Instapaper, Pocket (formerly Read It Later), and Spool are hearing the faint sounds of a certain repetitive sports arena taunt, that’s because iOS 6 will offer sites for offline reading. Until now, iPhones and iPads required a data connection to access web pages without a third party app.

With new group and private photo-sharing apps, Apple is allowing people to share photos online with friends and have them comment as they see fit, by default. This could threaten other apps that do the same thing, like 1000Memories, as well as the photo sharing services of Google+ and Facebook (FB), not to mention cloud storage apps like Dropbox and Google Drive. However, it’s pretty likely that Google, Facebook, and Dropbox apps have enough going for them to weather the storm.

But look out Google Hangouts, Skype, Tango, and ooVoo. Before the update comes, Apple’s mobile video chat FaceTime app only worked on Wi-Fi. It seems that kink has been worked out. The major one that remains, however, is cross-platform calling capability.

Of course, users loyal to a particular third-party app may have become so used to the format that they’ll feel no need to switch to one of iOS 6’s default features.

Then again, the Apple Store’s mighty banhammer may find that those pesky apps “replicate a default feature of iOS” and ensure that they no longer see the light of day.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.