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Summary:

A new report indicates Apple is on the verge of replacing the Google Maps app altogether in the next version of iOS. Considering Apple’s history of buying up mapping technologies and its preference of using its own technology rather than third-party solutions, the report makes sense.

iOS-Maps-app-icon

Apple surprised some earlier this year when it debuted a new iPhoto app for iOS devices that featured maps from a source that was not Google. Now a new report indicates Apple may be on the verge of replacing Google Maps altogether in the next version of iOS.

9to5Mac cites “trusted sources” who say that iOS 6, the next version of the software to power the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, will ditch Google Maps as the source for the Maps app in favor of an Apple-built solution: a maps app whose technology is derived from several companies Apple has acquired over the past few years. It too will be called Maps:

The application design is said to be fairly similar to the current Google Maps program on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but it is described as a much cleaner, faster, and more reliable experience.

According to the report, the app icon itself is also getting a slightly new look. It will still be a map view of Apple headquarters in Cupertino, but will have “a new color scheme.”

One of the features that Apple plans to highlight is its own version of Google’s Street View, a 3D-mapping mode. Here’s how it’s described:

The 3D mode does not come enabled by default, but users simply need to click a 3D button that is conveniently and visibly stored in the app. Perhaps under the fold like the current traffic, pin, and map view buttons. This 3D mode is said to essentially be technology straight from C3 Technologies: beautiful, realisitic graphics based on de-classified missile target algorithms.

Here’s why this report isn’t at all implausible:

  • Apple did quietly buy up a bunch of mapping technology companies several years ago: PlaceBase in July 2009, Poly 9 in 2010 and C3 late last year. It’s reasonable to think that this would follow a similar pattern to what Apple did with Siri: buy an outside company for its technology and a few years down the line incorporate it into iOS.
  • Apple always prefers not to be dependent on third-party technologies. It is at a place where it designs its own software and hardware, even down to the chips and battery and almost all of the key apps that come with iOS devices — with the exception of the Maps app and YouTube. In other words, moving from a third-party solution to an in-house one eventually would be very much in line with Apple’s philosophy and history.
  • In particular, Apple probably would like to have as little to do with Google as possible. This is the same company that Steve Jobs promised to go “thermonuclear” on and accusing it of “grand theft” in designing Android. It makes sense not to incorporate product from one of your chief rivals in mobile into your most important product.

The report also claims that iOS 6 will be introduced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference scheduled for the second week of June. Be sure to head to 9to5Mac for videos and photos of what the 3D mapping product could look like.

Update: AllThingsD says it’s independently confirmed this news and hears that the new Maps app will “blow your head off.”

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  1. This C3 company that Apple bought is awesome. Nokia uses them for its 3D maps and they’re really good. http://maps.nokia.com/3d I’m really looking forward to seeing what Apple can do with them.

  2. They should ditch Google long ago

  3. It is funny that Amazon and Baidu both uses Android but ditch the Google Search. This is how a thief should be rewarded.

    1. Relax iTard.So what is Apple going to copy from Google?.Notification bar, and now Google Maps?.Wow talk about thiefs I see.Typical iSheep always pulling something from where the sun dont shine.

      1. internetworld7 HeLLo Saturday, May 12, 2012

        Thieves not “thiefs”. It’s called spellcheck reTard.

  4. I sure hope turn by turn navigation is included. The one feature in Android phones I wish for, built in turn by turn. ‘Siri where’s the nearest coffee shop?’ and Siri gives you a map. Ugh. Hands free navigation right up until you have to look at a map.

  5. Apple does use Yahoo API’s for stock and weather. I am guessing switch to own maps has more to do with not wanting to be a step child to Google maps experience on Android. If you consider the changes in maps app since iPhone shipped, street view addition is the only change that has happened. As for Android version, maps app happens to be best reason to get Android, and continues to improve.

  6. Apple didn’t buy the company behind the Siri technology. Nuance Communication is still very much its own publicly-traded entity.

    1. Attila Von Stryker sdjsjdf Saturday, May 12, 2012

      Actually Apple did indeed buy the company behind Siri.
      Siri was a DARPA funded common linguistics system for deployed user interfaces.
      Nuance tech is used as the back end of this system.

  7. If I have not missed something, sorry to say but the maps at http://maps.nokia.com look pathetic for some countries. They do not have any satellite data for many countries.

  8. Terrence Martineau Friday, May 11, 2012

    ..good! Google leaves Google Maps on iOS ten steps behind the android version.. no turn-by-turn navigation.. no options for mass transit, cycling etc, etc… how many times has it been upgraded? it’s ridiculous.. it doesn’t even have half the feature of the web version of Google Maps.. they HAVE to ditch it because it leaves iOS leaps and bounds behind android in OS level mapping and navigation..

    1. I am 99% sure that Apple is in charge of updating the iOS Google Maps application. Be pissed at Apple for not introducing those features.

  9. Google doesn’t make any money off of Navigation or the Maps themseleves, only in the places and advertising for business that is on the side. So this is not really a big loss to Google so there is no real pressure for them to update these apps.

    Having gone from google navigate even on my crappy G1 I can say it is a far superior product to maps on iPhone or even any other navigation product I’ve used. I’m skeptical that Apple will be releasing a product with navigation, I would expect to see merely a jazzed up maps product. Navigation maps cost more, most companies that own the vector and satellite images specify that they can’t be used for turn-by-turn navigation. Google’s products originally had this limitation as well.

    Now there are open mapping products out there, and conceivably with some good software engineering they could leverage the open sources to create an amazing self improving mapping product, but I just don’t see them coming out with that soon.

    1. *gone from android on my G1 to iOS on iPhone 4

    2. Attila Von Stryker deeceefar2 Saturday, May 12, 2012

      Actually Google does indeed charge for this map data, that is why many many companies have implemented open street in to their applications, which is a crowd sourced open licensed project.

  10. danlaurence Friday, May 11, 2012

    Makes sense for Apple to own its own mapping tech and if it can distance itself form Google even further in the process then great. The new photo-realistic mapping looks stunning. Apple’s philosophy of taking existing tech and simply making it better and more intuitive would appear to be in place here. iOS6 can’t come soon enough!

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