Leak Suggests Apple Kicking Google Maps Out Of iOS 6

| Rumor

A leaked image, allegedly from an early version of iOS 6, suggests that Apple may dump Google Maps from the next version of its mobile device operating system, according to Macworld UK.

Leaked iOS 6 Screenshot

This allegedly leaked iOS 6 screenshot shows Stamen Design’s “Watercolor” tiles laid out using OpenStreetMap data.

The screenshot, above, is using the new “watercolor” graphics mode from Stamen Design, which is based on OpenStreetMap, a “Wikipedia” of sorts for global maps. If it’s legit, and if Apple stayed with this solution, it suggests that Apple may replace Google Maps in the coming OS.

Apple Kicking Google Out of iOS

Apple has used Google Maps to provide mapping data on its iDevices since the very first iPhone, but recently the Cupertino company has begun to quietly shed the search giant in favor of alternative sources.

For example, while the desktop version of iPhoto continues to use Google’s data, the recently released iPhoto for iOS uses OpenStreetMap data, albeit without proper credit, combined with custom Apple tiles likely derived from the company’s acquisition of mapping firms PlaceBase, Poly9 and C3

While this leak contains little credibility on its face — the image could have easily been modified — when examined in the context of Apple’s aggressive acquisitions of mapping technology and the company’s increasing rivalry with Google over the Android smartphone platform, it would not be a surprise to see Apple remove Google as the default provider of services on its iOS platform.

It is also possible, however, that the image was taken from within iPhoto for iOS, which already uses OpenStreetMap, and that Apple will retain Google for the core maps functionality of the next iOS.

Comments

Will

What might be the pros and cons of a switch to OpenStreetMap?

Lee Dronick

Going nuclear on Google

Will

Going nuclear on Google

I would take that as a Pro.

Terrin

What might be the pros and cons of a switch to OpenStreetMap?

The Pros are Apple gains valuable data that currently goes to Google; Apple denies Google the same data, which Google derives revenue from; Apple likely will contribute to another open source project making it stronger; and Apple has less reliance on Google.

This move in a nut shell hurts Google where it counts: in the pocket book.

The cons are that the data the mapping service uses is acquired from the public, like with Wiki-Pedia. So, it is possible the information will not be as accurate. For instance, recently employees of Google allegedly were reported to have altered the map data to provide incorrect information.

werner

It would be really unfortunate, as google maps is far more detailed in Iraq and remote countries.  OpenStreetMap only has a very basic layout from places such as Duhok, Erbil, Sulaymaniya.  It would be a great loss to loose Google Maps on my iPad

Lee Dronick

Werner I would think that Google Maps would still be available as an app, a 3rd party app.

Substance

@Lee Dronick Just like Google Earth is a separate app?
I was discussing this morning with a friend about whether Apple should build more support for allowing the user to choose which 3rd party tool to satisfy cerain jobs.  For example, be able to choose your search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, any others left?) or in this case your map provider (Google, MapQuest, Yahoo Maps, etc.).  It feels that Apple use to do a good job with this on the Mac but has pretty much ignored the feature on iOS.

Lee Dronick

Substance I have Bing as my default search engine on my iPad and iPhone, well Macs too. If I search for a city then I can choose Bing maps on a webpage. Even if the Google Map app goes away then one would probably be able to access their maps via the browser.

Mike W

h

I read somewhere that there will be an option to select Google Maps vs. Apple (open) maps.  Similar to how you can change your search provider in Safari on and iOS device (Settings, Safari, Search Provider).

Substance

you can change your search provider in Safari on and iOS device (Settings, Safari, Search Provider).

I have Bing as my default search engine on my iPad and iPhone

Yes, you guys are correct, that option does exist in iOS.  Bad example on my part.  I’m sure you can come up with better examples (email clients, Web browsers, camera apps).

Phil

Wasn’t google going to start charging if you send too many requests to their map service.

Alex

For example, be able to choose your search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, any others left?)

You can do this right now. Go into Settings, and then go to the settings for Safari, and then change your default search engine from there.

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