I wasn't sure if any competitors to Apple in the nav space were going to react to Apple offering free turn-by-turn directions in iOS 6, but I did get some interesting comments from the folks at Garmin/Navigon.
Johan-Till Broer at Garmin International shared this statement from Garmin today:
"We've been competing successfully with free navigation on Android phones, and through third party apps also on the iPhone, for a couple of years now, and it has been widely anticipated that Apple would introduce a new maps app with navigation functionalities. It is, however, too early to provide a qualified evaluation of this new iOS feature. Garmin has over 20 years of experience in navigation technology and our navigation products offer a wide range of unique features that provide drivers highly accurate and reliable road guidance."
"We think that there is a market for smartphone navigation apps, PND's (personal navigation devices) and in-dash navigation systems as each of these solutions has their own advantages and use case limitations and ultimately it's up to the consumer to decide what they prefer. We will take a look at Apple's new app and will continue to innovate in the navigation app, PND and auto OEM space to offer our customers a premium navigation experience that goes beyond the capabilities available from free smartphone services."
Fair enough. Competing with free is quite a challenge, but I hope Apple's announcement will force competitors to attain new heights in features and new lows in pricing. All consumers will benefit from that.