Rumor: Apple to drop Google Maps in iOS 6, may add 3D maps

By on May 11, 2012, 2:30 PM

Sources close to 9to5Mac have reported that Apple intends to replace Google Maps in iOS 6 with an "in-house" maps application. Interestingly, this discovery is further supported by Apple's quiet acquisitions of Placebase, C3 and Poly9 -- all of which are mapping companies.

Apple has used Google Maps for the backend of their "Maps" app in iOS since the original iPhone debuted in 2008. However, Apple recently dropped Google Maps in their iPhoto app -- a subtle harbinger of Apple dropping Google Maps for good? -- Perhaps, but why?

Apple moving away from Google Maps is likely the result of Google's new monetization strategy for the service. The search giant recently changed its terms of service in such a way that developers who utilize Google Maps in their projects and conjure more than 25,000 views per month must pay a hefty premium.

Consequently, some large clients who formerly depended on Google for their mapping needs made the decision to jump ship, including the likes of Wikipedia and FourSquare. 

Companies who've split ties from Google Maps often defect to OpenStreetMaps. OSM is considered the "Wikipedia of maps", using a combination of bona fide map data and crowdsourcing to provide fresh but accurate maps. Interestingly, although openly free, OSM has received a substantial amount of support from Microsoft.

Demonstration of C3's mapping software

Although OSM seems the weapon of choice for defectors, according to 9to5Mac, Apple's solution is "in-house", which brings us back to Placebase, C3 and Poly9. If Apple does employ its acquired technologies, it's possible the company may introduce an impressive 3D-mode (video) and its own version of Street View -- features OSM is currently unable to provide.

User Comments: 7

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Guest said:

So, what's the current world coverage for this impressive mapping app--0.00000001%? ;-)

Guest said:

Meanwhile people whine about Windows RT limitations....

captainawesome captainawesome said:

Meanwhile people whine about Windows RT limitations....

I think we should moan about both Apple and Microsoft when it comes to crap like that

Guest said:

This is good for competition I hope the unleash a beast! (y)

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Perhaps if this cost could have been passed on to consumers, things may have stayed as they were. So it is more of an economic decision as pointed out by Rick. In a way it is good to have multiple options, may be such defections also make Google re-think its strategies as well.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

Really cool concept (the 3D maps). ...Until your wireless provider slaps you with the overage fees on your data plan should you use this away from a wifi hotspot.

Arris Arris said:

Need more information to see how much large textures are or whether there is no heavy data usage in the system similar to the Google Maps "tile" image system. They do point out that the ipad is "rendering" the 3d objects. Might not be exact textures of buildings but from a set of standard materials that could be installed. It's unlikely but it could even use less data than Google Maps.

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