Maps maps are becoming more relevant to your business with Apple’s launch of the new iOS 6 mobile operating system. Apple’s new iOS--just released in beta form to developers--will offer mobile users all-new Apple Maps this fall, and your business needs to be included.
Anteing up to Google’s absorption of Zagat ratings, Apple Maps will integrate with Yelp to show local businesses’ ratings, reviews and photos, making it a powerful local search. Another major consumer draw will be Apple's traffic tracking service, which will crowd-source and aggregate accident and delay information in real-time. Finally, Siri will now have the capability to deliver turn-by-turn voice navigation, erasing the need for third-party iPhone GPS apps.
While many of the new iOS 6 features are essentially upgrades to previous offerings, the Maps feature represents Apple's serious attempt to take a chunk of Google's dominance in the area of hyperlocal search. Just in case you don't think Apple Maps will matter, chew on this:
Apple already has 20 million more businesses listed than Google, according to data disclosed by both companies.
Now, some of Apple's "ingested" listings, absorbed from Yelp and other companies like Localeze, Axcion, infoUSA, may be duplicates or false, so the real number of Apple's listings may be closer to Google's 80 million. However, it's still imperative to stay on top of the Apple Maps release!
How? Claim your Yelp listing and make sure its information, especially address and location, is accurate. This seems to be the easiest way to literally get on the map, and it's a good idea anyway, for the same reason as claiming your Google+Local listing is a must: you control content and have the ability to respond to feedback.
Eventually, Apple may make it easier to claim a listing. Many sources point to the Maps release having been in the works for years, so chances are that the company has thought ahead (and isn't Apple's claim to fame user interface ease of use?).
For now, Apple is making the beta version of iOS 6 available to developers only--but you can expect to see it on your devices come fall.