New Maps for iOS? It’s not exactly a surprise

ImageThe latest rumor to get everyone talking is that Apple will drop Google Maps for their own proprietary software. Sources told 9to5 Mac that a new Maps app will debut with iOS 6 with an Apple-created backend that will resemble the current Maps app, but with a more amenable solution.

This really isn’t the big shocker that everyone is making it out to be. The writing has been on the wall for a couple of years. It was never a matter of if Apple would drop Google but when. The question was asked as early as 2009 when Apple bought Placebase. This was followed by the acquisition of several 3D-technology companies — Poly9 in 2010 and C3 Technologies in 2011. While Apple and Google did renew their partnership last year, it was most likely on a year-to-year basis. Apple wasn’t ready with the technology in 2011. It looks to be ready now, and the leak could be intentional to drum up excitement for WWDC.

The proof is in iPhoto for iOS. When the iOS version of iPhoto debuted in March, Apple was using older OpenStreetMap data instead of Google. This was most likely a testing ground to see how their own maps would function before pushing it out to a wider audience with a major iOS release. While the iPhoto maps aren’t anywhere near as full-featured as a new Maps app would likely be, and I hope it looks different because the maps in iPhoto are rather ugly, it was a good place to start.

Maps for iOS has long lacked the features offered to Android users, including a solid integration with voice control. If this Maps app does debut with iOS 6, I hope Siri can be used to voice turn-by-turn directions. The addition of 3D-map technology would of course bring additional benefits. What features would you like to see in a new Apple-originated Maps app?

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