How Apple's iOS 5 is going to utterly destroy local search

iOS 5, Apple’s newest operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch is coming in late summer or fall. And I’m predicting it will completely reinvent local and mobile search.

First, some groundwork
Local search is just search for stuff that’s around you.
Mobile search is search on a phone or small device.
And most searches that are mobile, are local.

Done is the new search
Search is an outmoded concept. Most of us just don’t know it, and even for those that do, we can’t really live it yet. I’m betting that’s all going to change in just few months time.

Very simply, search is a process. The goal or object of the search is the product. And since flint knives and sparking rocks, humans reinvent processes continuously to achieve products quicker.

So why search when you can just do?

Laying it all out
Most local/mobile (let’s just say LOMO) searches are action-oriented.

  • Where’s the nearest bar?
  • What’s the best restaurant near here?
  • Is there a movie theatre near here playing XYZ latest & greatest movie?
  • Can I get a cab here?

The search intent, or goal here, is pretty obvious. Shoot me the latest twofer deal at the nearest bar, get me reservations at the restaurant, buy me tickets at the theatre, send a cab to pick me up.

Today, to do that, most people have to:

  1. open a search app (or several)
  2. enter search terms
  3. sort through data
  4. select an option
  5. phone the option
  6. make the reservation/booking/buy

To do this, you might have to open 3-4 apps (a phone is an app), switch context at least that many times, actively personally speak (or wait on hold). Basically, you have to do it yourself.

But wouldn’t it be nice if you had a personal assistant do it all for you?

Enter iOS 5 … your personal assistant from heaven
Apple has a huge problem. That problem is a green little robot dude named Android. And while iPhone is still the best smart mobile platform in the world, Android’s hybrid vigor and essential free-ness to telcos and amazing plasticity is driving huge growth: faster growth than iPhone.

Apple doesn’t need to be bigger than Android, but it absolutely needs to be better.

So Apple is making iOS your new best friend … that does all the annoying little detail work for you. And it’s via an acquisition they made over a year ago, Siri, and a massive data center in the clouds of North Carolina.

Imagine this: pull out your iPhone and say: “I need a flight to Toronto on June 9, arriving in early afternoon, a downtown hotel that doesn’t cost more than $200/night, and tickets to a Blue Jays game that weekend. Oh, and by the way, make me dinner reservations at a good French restaurant for Friday night.”

Rocket science? Star Trek? Prerogative of wealthy execs with personal assistants and fat expense accounts? Rich man’s reality, poor man’s dream?

Think again. This is what Siri does … and this is the future of iOS.

Get ready
Done is the new search. If you’re in the LOMO industry, get ready.

The one potential flaw in Apple’s ointment? Apple doesn’t do social real well … sort of like another tech giant we all know well.

As LOMO becomes SOLOMO (social/local/mobile) this opens doors for others who play nicely together.

Perhaps there’s an opportunity here …

. . .
. . .

Some background resources:

My 3-part series on the future of local search from earlier this year:

TechCrunch on Apple’s new data center and iOS voice plans, and a prior article on iOS 5 and Siri.

And Robert Scoble’s very informative overview and demo of Siri.

Anything else worth linking to here? Add it in the comments …

 


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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  • It would be really nice if iOS5 folded the laundry and put dirty dishes into the dishwasher

  • I’ll give you this, history tells us Apple doesn’t spend that kind of money unless its going to break new ground in a big way. Moblie Me and/or a giant virtual iTunes for free can’t be it.

    You may be on to something. Whatever it is Google will be tripping an d falling over itself with their own half-baked solution in no time. Apple’s will make money hand over fist and Google won’t.

  • I don’t see where that article disseminated any new information. It read more like a press release, big on hype but no details. ‘Done’? Maybe try expanding on exactly what is great about Siri?

  • Sounds like a great future. Thanks for the write up. Do you think this Siri system will replace the stock google maps that comes with the phone?

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