Apple Announces Home Grown Maps to Replace Google Maps

SAN FRANCISCO - Apple announced a new Maps app for iOS 6 that will replace the current Maps app powered by Google Maps. The service will offer “Apple-designed cartography,” including vector-based map elements that Apple says will look better, turn-by-turn navigation, crowd-sourced traffic information, and a flyover mode with photo-realistic 3D views.

Apple Maps

Apple Maps Screenshot

This is a significant step for Apple, which released the original iPhone with a Maps app powered by Google’s very popular Google Maps. By launching its own service, Apple will be leaving behind what is arguably the world’s most popular mapping service. Apple built the service in-house with the help of three mapping companies it purchased over the last two years.

Apple said that the artwork on its Maps app will, “make graphics and text smooth, and panning, tilting and zooming incredibly fluid.” The service will also feature turn-by-turn navigation that include spoken directions. The Flyover view offers what Apple described as photo-realistic interactive 3D views.

The company will be using data from the more than 100 million iPhone owners out there to crowd source real-time traffic data. This data will be anonymized, according to Apple, and is being mixed with data from other sources.

This is just one of the new features in iOS 6, which is scheduled to be released sometime this fall. It will be a free update for iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, the new iPad, iPad 2 and iPod touch (fourth generation).