Will Apple Pull the Plug on Garmin?
On Monday, Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) highly awaited annual Worldwide Developers Conference finally rolled out. Anticipation has been building for months that the tech giant will update its Mac product line, provide more information on Mountain Lion or even announce improvements to Siri. The Apple Store is currently closed with a message that simply says, “We’re busy updating the Apple Store for you and will be back soon.” However, another new development by Apple could spread its dominance further into the tech world.
Although Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) Maps is currently preloaded by Apple onto its iPhones and iPads, Apple has been clear that it intends to launch its own mapping feature to replace Google’s service. Apple is predicted to be doing away with the Google map program in the next version of its mobile operating system to be launched later this year with an in-house one. The company has also reportedly acquired a firm to use aerial spy technology to provide highly detailed maps. MailOnline reports, “Apple’s military-grade cameras are understood to be so powerful they could potentially see into homes through skylights and windows. The technology is similar to that used by intelligence agencies in identifying terrorist targets in Afghanistan.”
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Even though the technology is likely to raise more privacy concerns, consumers are often willing to select convenience and coolness over privacy. With Apple’s own in-house map program, millions of people will have easy access to the program on the company’s many devices. In addition to Google, Apple’s map program will likely have an effect on Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Bing Maps and Nokia’s (NYSE:NOK) Drive. But, perhaps Apple will steal enough market share to drive the final stake through one technology company.
Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN) designs, develops and markets a diverse line of global positioning system units. Their products include handheld portable and fixed-mount products for the auto, outdoor and marine industry. Unfortunately, these are all places that people often take their Apple products with them, because iFans take their iGadgets everywhere. This morning, Oppenheimer explained that although it believes Garmin is executing well, an update by Apple that includes turn-by-turn navigation to iOS, could add even more problems for personal navigation device makers. We live in a world where smartphones and tablets are quickly replacing older technology such as GPS devices.
Shares of Garmin dropped 8.5 percent on Monday. Since hitting an all-time high near $120 in 2007, shares of the company have plunged more than 60 percent as mobile devices by companies such as Apple and Samsung become the new normal across the globe.
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