Apple’s new maps application ships without public transit directions. Transit directions was a service provided by Google, whom does a mostly fantastic job at aggregating disparate public transit data into a unified format. While Apple has focused on delivering a great in-car experience, they’ve punted on local transit.
As a compromise, they’re recommending apps that provide transit directions from within the Maps app itself. A cany developer or team could be ready on launch day with apps for the top metro areas, which implimenting the new API hooks, and skip the hubbub of the App Store entirely by selling an app for a few dollars within Maps’ recommendation space.
Or you could make the app free and use it as a beachhead to promo additional apps. Shops with lots of apps (game companies, media outlets, etc) hugely benefit from being able to cross-market their other apps from within successful apps. For example, when Zynga launches a new app, they promo it within their existing install base to guarantee initial attention. One could use a transit app, ready on day one, to build a wide base of users for an larger suite of apps.
Personally, I prefer the pay case (and am anxiously awaiting such apps before I upgrade). Either way, it’s a big opportunity for the developer who can craft a sharp app quickly but is often stymied by the App Store.
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