Apple’s “Maps” app will be updated in iOS 6 to use Apple-owned technologies to replace Google’s mapping data for the backend, according to unnamed sources at 9to5Mac and AllThingsD. Included is a new 3D mode that will reportedly be part of the re-engineered system.
Over the past few years, Apple has acquired several mapping technologies, including PlaceBase (July 2009), Poly9 (July 2010), and C3 Technologies (October 2011). Rumors began before the release of iOS 5 that Apple would be abandoning Google’s maps in favor of its own. However, for iOS5 Apple and Google extended their cooperative agreement.
It seems that with iOS 6 these acquisitions will finally be put to use and the relationship with Google for this service will come to an end.
The Maps app has always had an Apple designed interface, but the mapping data has been pulled from Google databases. The new app is rumored to have a slightly different icon to note the changes in its capabilities.
Those capabilities are rumored to include a new 3D “street view” mode originally developed by C3 Technologies. Using algorithms that have been de-classified by the defense industry (that were once used for missile targeting), the photo-realistic images are reported to be highly detailed and remarkably fast. AllThingsD’s source said it, “blow your head off,” so be careful when it finally comes out.
To add a little spice to the rumor, some of the executives from C3 Technologies that came with the acquisition have recently left Apple. In the past, this has indicated that the integration of the acquired product into Apple’s systems is complete. For instance, Siri’s co-founder, Dag Kittlaus, left Apple shortly after Siri was launched with the iPhone 4S last fall.
To complete the rumor, it is believed that iOS 6 will be announced at the World Wide Developers Conference in June.