Google’s map data has been baked into the iOS Maps app since the days of the first, thick, aluminum-backed iPhone, but that may no longer be the case once iOS 6 hits the streets. Unnamed sources told 9to5Mac that the Cupertino company would instead take that opportunity to reveal their own Maps application, and those early reports paint a pretty impressive picture.
Astute readers may recall that Apple has been on something of a mapping company shopping spree these past few years — what began with the purchase of Placebase in 2009, continued with Poly9 in 2010, and culminated with Apple snapping up C3 Technologies late last year.
As far as the app itself goes, the biggest addition to the mix is a robust new 3D mode that is said to be a straight implementation of the what C3 was already working on when they were acquired. Considering how damned good some of their 3D maps looked, this should be a real treat (assuming the report isn’t just hot air). Also on deck is an updated street view mode also courtesy of C3, and what would a major revamp be without a new app icon?
While C3’s (and possibly Poly9’s) tech seems to have been used in building (or replacing) features, the purchase of white-label mapping service Placebase presumably allowed Apple to build up their store of map data to the point where they apparently feel comfortable giving Google the boot. Apple has forecast their shift away from reliance on Google in other ways, too — about two months ago, Apple switched from using Google’s map data to data provided by the OpenStreetMaps project (even if it did take them a while to own up to it).
While Apple isn’t expected to fully unveil iOS 6 and all the changes they’ve made until this year’s WWDC in June, if you’re champing at the bit for nifty 3D mapping functionality on your iDevice, apps like UpNext Maps may be able to hold you over until Apple delivers their next big iOS update.