Following numerous claims that Apple will abandon Google Maps and release proprietary mapping technology this year, The Wall Street Journal today reports that Apple is indeed throwing out Google Maps once and for all. Apple showed signs of moving away from Google Maps when it used open-source mapping technology in its recently launched iPhoto for iOS app.
Apple has been reportedly “hatching the plan to evict Google Maps from the iPhone for years,” and the company is expected to debut its completely new app “later this year.”
Later this year, Apple is planning to oust Google Maps as the preloaded, default maps app from the iPhone and iPad and release a new mapping app that runs Apple’s own technology, according to current and former Apple employees. Apple could preview the new software, which will be part of its next mobile-operating system, as soon as next week at its annual developer conference in San Francisco, one person familiar with the plans says. Apple plans to encourage app developers to embed its maps inside their applications like social-networking and search services.
Apple’s goal is to develop a “holistic” technology that integrates maps with other Apple software, says a person briefed on the strategy. For instance, if Apple’s iCalendar program knows that a person has a meeting across town soon, and traffic is backing up, it might alert the person about road conditions.
Apple has been buying up mapping companies over the last few years, including PlaceBase in 2009, Poly 9 in 2010, and C3 Technologies in 2011.
Multiple sites have claimed that Apple will debut its totally revamped Maps app with revolutionary 3D mapping technology alongside iOS 6 at WWDC next week, but the Journal’s report makes it sound like the new Maps app could be something Apple holds onto until the release of the new iPhone in the fall. While it’s already been assumed by most that Apple will ditch Google Maps this year, today’s report all but confirms the rumor.
Apple and Google have been at odds ever since the release of Android and Steve Jobs’s public battle cry to wage “thermonuclear war” on Google’s OS. Jobs believed that Google had stolen ideas and innovations from the iPhone. Since then, the two companies have continued to distance themselves from each another.
Google will lose a significant chunk of its ad revenue and Google Maps user base when Apple releases its own Maps app. The current iOS Maps app is designed by Apple, but Google provides the backend mapping technology. Apple’s own technology will feature a 3D map view, enhanced iOS integration, and possible crowd-sourced traffic info, according to rumors.
Apple will hold its public WWDC keynote next Monday, June 11th. We expect to hear more on iOS 6 then. Coincidentally, Google has scheduled its own Google Maps event 5 days before WWDC.