According to some reports, Apple plans to break from Google Maps and use its own technology for the native Maps app on iOS later this year.
The new feature is expected to be announced at next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, experts suggest. The company is reportedly looking to convince third-party application developers to implement its technology into their offerings.
As The Wall Street Journal claims, former Apple’s employees revealed that company is set to bump Google’s maps service from its mobile OS. Apple would instead “release a new mapping app that runs Apple’s own technology,” the report said.
BGR’s Jonathan Geller says that iOS 6 — the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system — will bring 3-D mapping features which use mapping technology developed by Apple.
As insiders told reporters, “Apple has been hatching the plan to evict Google Maps from the iPhone for years.” Over time, Apple has “quietly acquired at least three cutting-edge map companies, melding their technology with its own” and begun developing its own proprietary mapping service.
The speculations concerning the Apple’s Maps began last month when the website 9to5Mac cited “trusted sources” in reporting that the company intended to replace Google Maps as the default map app in the next version of its mobile operating system.
“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,” the website said that time.
Google Maps has been an essential feature of the iPhone since 2007, but sources assure that Apple’s replacement plan was hatched years ago and accelerated when phones powered by Google’s Android operating system overtook Apple in shipments.
So Apple bought three companies, Placebase, C3 Technologies and Poly 9, which it used to create a mapping database, writes NPR.
Last month 9to5Mac said the Apple maps app will have a new 3-D tool: “This 3D mode is said to essentially be technology straight from C3 Technologies: beautiful, realistic graphics based on de-classified missile target algorithms.”
Jessica Vascellaro, who wrote about the news, suggested that while Google will lose some revenue from the move, what’s at stake goes beyond mapping applications.
“There’s sort of a bigger pile of money at stake when you look at the broader smartphone battle and what phones people are buying,” she said.
“Because people today whether they’re buying iPhones or phones that run Google’s Android software, they want the coolest hardware but also, you know, the coolest apps.”
She went on: “And if Google or Apple has a better map app, they’re hoping that [they are] pulling users toward buying their phones and being sort of on their software platform. So it’s really a broader battle about the billions of billions of dollars at stake in the smartphone industry.”
Vascellaro also suggested that the app will turn iPhone into an in-car GPS device, a feature already available in Android-powered phones.
“But I think where Apple is really going to try and differentiate is on sort of the vividness of the imagery and really 3-D imagery that pops on your screen, which is something we’re not totally used to yet on mobile,” she said.