How Nokia, Microsoft and Google are Responding to the Impending iPhone 5
It's the industry's latest worst kept secret – Apple will launch the iPhone 5 at an event on 12 September. Officially speaking, that's still just a rumour, but it's one other companies in the handset space certainly seem to have bought it into, if their reactions are anything to go by.
Nokia and Microsoft have announced a joint media event on September 5, a week before Apple's event. What it is in aid of, exactly, remains to be seen – but the unveiling of the first Windows 8 handset seems a smart bet.
Meanwhile, Google is preparing in smaller ways to some of the features offered by iOS 6 – namely, its rather impressive Maps app, introducing a competitor in a space which Google currently dominates.
Rather than addressing the features which make Apple's app attractive, though, the Google Maps update focuses on the public transport aspect. The update brings listings, departure times, and suggested routes for a total 1m stations, an increase of about 50 per cent on last year. It'll also include indoor directions for some stations - a blessing, as anyone who's tried to navigate out onto the street from any of the bigger tube stations will tell you.
The key thing, though, is that this update will only be available on Android devices.
Neither move is particularly rash, and they could be coincidental – the timing of the Windows 8 announcement coincides with the Nokia World conference, and Google promises to bring the updates to iOS at some point in the future. Nevertheless, there's a sense that both manufacturers and OS developers are bracing for the impact of Apple's latest release. And, really, who can blame them?