Apple released its long awaited iOS6, with several new features, the most significant of which is the new Apple Maps. Apple Maps is a native app on iOS6 that replaces the familiar and reliable Google Maps, which has been a cornerstone of Apple’s iPhone and iPad products since its release.

Apple Maps marks a significant shift in the local SEO landscape, as Apple — despite having about17 percent of the global smartphone market vs. Android’s 68 percent— is still a major player in thesmartphone market. With different features and different data partners, Apple Maps presents a very new environment for marketers aiming to reach people searching for locations while on the go.

Why did Apple introduce a new app?

Apple has recently taken several steps to limit Google’s presence within iOS. In addition to removing Google Maps, it has also removed the YouTube app as a built-in feature, and in Russia,Apple will be using Yandex — that country’s biggest search engine — instead of Google to power its maps and navigation.

In creating its own native app, Apple has carved out its own mapping, navigation and local search ecosystem – something that will become very important for marketers to consider when it comes to their local SEO efforts.

Read More … Now all the above is great info as is the rest of the article the big take away for us anyway is this

Steps for marketers

Marketers who previously focused only on Google will want to consider the following next steps to ensure that users can find data within the new local search environment.

  • Ensure your business listings are available to TomTom and Yelp with correct information. It is possible to contract directly with Yelp, or with the major local directories which feed both Yelp and TomTom.
  • In light of errors, marketers will want to confirm the accuracy of their listings to ensure their data is appearing accurately, the most important being phone number and homepage URL.
  • Explore the relationship between Bing Local Business Center and Yelp. Since they have a partnership, including your listings in Bing Local could get them included in Yelp as well.

Apple Maps is not a perfect release, and like all products, it has its share of bugs in its early stages. However, between the 17 percent of mobile users who already have iPhones and will upgrade to iOS6, and the new iPhone users who have purchased the iPhone 5, the product becomes instantly and hugely important to local search marketers.

To be on an equal playing field across both Apple and Android, marketers will want to take notice of this new system, explore how it works, and ensure their local business presences can be found no matter how their customers are searching.