If a new rumor is to be believed, iOS 6 – the next major release of Apple’s iOS operating system powering the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad – will forgo Google Maps in favor of Apple’s in-house mapping service based on incredible 3D maps. The headline new feature will still be called Maps.

However, this is where all similarities reportedly end. The iPhone maker is rumored to innovate Google-backed maps in iOS with an awesome 3D technology based on a declassified missile targeting technology. This in-house solution is said to offer “a much cleaner, faster and more reliable experience”. More importantly, Apple’s own mapping service will reduce their dependency on Google.

Moving from a Google Maps backend to an Apple backend is also important given that the two companies have been at odds ever since the search Goliath decided to challenge the iPhone with its Android platform…

Mark Gurman, writing for 9to5Mac, has the story, based on “trusted sources”:

Apple has an incredible headline feature in development for iOS 6: a completely in-house maps application. Apple will drop the Google Maps program running on iOS since 2007 in favor for a new Maps app with an Apple backend.

As for a new 3D mode, it’s said to be enabled by clicking a 3D button inside the reworked Maps app. The app itself is said to be designed in a similar manner to the current iOS Maps program on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch which takes advantage of the Google Maps backend.

The below image is just a mockup, credited to 9to5Mac.

The author didn’t provide much in way of details concerning turn-by-turn navigation or traffic layers.

Also, this:

Signifying the application’s complete re-write is a new logo for iOS Maps: it is basically a redesigned version of the current iOS Maps icon with a view of Apple’s 1 Infinite Loop Campus, but redrawn with a new color scheme.

Apple has long been rumored to be working on own mapping service as the company has been seeking ways to reduce its dependency on the Google backend in iOS.

We know from before that Apple’s in-house mapping solution will be cutting-edge. The Cupertino company advertised multiple job postings on its official site that seem to back up this claim.

Google announced recently plans to charge high-volume users for access to its Maps APIs so this could be another important incentive to replace a Google Maps backend with an Apple Maps backend.

Uncharacteristically, Apple made as much as three important mapping-related acquisitions in past three years: Placebase maps service in 2009, followed by Poly9 in 2010 and C3 Technologies in 2011.

Venture-back C3 Technologies is especially interesting. The company provides a mind-blowing 3D mapping technology based on a spin-off of the aerospace and defense company Saab AB.

Here’s a look at Saab’s rapid 3D mapping tech.

Gurman writes that the new 3D mode of Apple’s in-house Maps solution is said to “essentially be technology straight from C3 Technologies: beautiful, realisitic graphics based on de-classified missile target algorithms”.

C3 also used to power Nokia Maps, although the Finnish cell phone company is now replacing the service with maps from Microsoft, based on their deal which put Windows Phone software on Nokia phones.

Here’s another video of C3 Technologies’ high-powered 3D rendering of New York City.

And another real-time 3D rendering of Hoover Dam.

According to C3 Technologies:

Based on declassified missile targeting technology from Swedish aerospace giant Saab, C3 maps can be rotated around because each individual pixel has depth information attached to it. 3D data is calculated directly from high-resolution aerial photography, based on the positions and angles of the cameras to give each pixel its geographical position with very high accuracy.

C3 maps also sport interior panoramas of points of interest based on HDR imagery, with room navigation, 3D menus and banners, overview maps and other interactive features. There’s also street-level imagery captured using an advanced multiple camera system with overlapping viewing angles to capture the entire surroundings in stereo.

Currently, iOS relies on the Google search, YouTube and Google Maps backends.

We should know more about Apple’s mapping strides next month, when the company is likely to take the wraps off of iOS 6 at its annual developers conference which runs this year from June 11-15 at San Francisco’s Moscone West Center.

Tim Cook said 2012 will be an incredible year for Apple.

Looks like he wasn’t joking.

Apple Maps.

I like the sound of it.


  • hopefully we can finally get native turn by turn with Siri integration. And hopefully Siri will actually work well in 6.0. I find myself going to spotlight and using the voice recognition button rather than invoking Siri most of the time.

    • Anonymous

      Tell me be about. :/ Siri was/is a sham/gimick in its present form imo. Seven months after release and it’s still in “beta”, come on. On top of that, there still is NO locations service basically outside America. Siri is no more useful than when it was first introduced imo, pathetic really at this point. I thought Apple was all about quality and detail, not when it comes to Siri it seems, that’s evident. :/

      • Kok Hean

        Well, Samsung fixed that with the Galaxy S III 😛

      • But Samsung is gay…

      • i really dont know what you guys are putting down siri for, i use it all the time with no problems. the reminders, alarm, speech to text, or to look up something it all works flawlessly for me. So what problems are you guys having with siri? do u not speak well, dont you use it to set an alarm or a reminder? i havent heard one person i know not like the siri feature so i dont know whats with you internet people or where you come from

      • Anonymous

        My problem is Siri only works half the time. Literally every single time I try to use it she says, “I’m sorry…” and then I’ll try again and it usually works. Siri definitely feels like a beta to me and it looks like she’ll be in beta for a very long time (probably till iOS 6, at the very least).

  • It’s not a good thing at all
    If I travel to a remote island country or hill station for a holiday I can rely on google’s maps which cover a LOT of countries…
    I haven’t come across any mapping solution as diverse as google maps…
    Hopefully google will introduce a maps app if this happens…

    • It appears to have extensive location info on Kenya so I’m gathering it has pretty thorough information.

      • It may cover major cities in Kenya or in pretty much any country but
        Try an island like ‘The Seychelles’ or ‘Maldives’
        Or a remote holiday town in say Iceland or Romania…
        Google covers these places….
        Every time I travel I’m surprised to find even the smallest town, lasting no longer than a mile, covered in google maps…If apple can do that, great!! But I don’t have any hopes….

  • Wait a minute. Didn’t android phones have this a couple of years ago? I know my friend’s phone did.

    • I love my iPhone but this feature in android does kick the iPhones ass I had an Experia play phone and using the native maps navigation was really cool when you arrived to your destination it showed a picture of the adress if the iPhone had that it would make it all that much better.

      • Let’s hope it works properly and not released and constantly in beta like Siri and promoted as the major selling point for their next phone like they did with the 4s. That’s the reason I didn’t upgrade from my 4.

      • Anonymous

        Exactly my point, in my previous comment above. Btw, I did purchase the iP4S, unlocked too. :/

  • Jeremy Spencer

    Will it work in Canada?

  • I can’t wait! Take that google maps!

  • I would Love, Love, Love the ability to download complete Grids, like a 20 square mile radius to store on the iPhone in this native app instead of having to fetch the pictures from the server every single time. This would solve to issues: having maps readily available when hiking or going places you know have zero cell reception and save on your Data plan given that you had the aforethought to do so.

    Maybe its just me, but, I do dream.

    • Anonymous

      I have a SGS2, iP4S, as well as a Nokia N8. The N8 comes with Nokia Maps which is totally free. All map are free and downloadable too, so data isn’t an issue. Not to mention, free voice (walk & drive) nav too. I prefer it over google of course, one can not beat having the maps on board your phone imo.

    • Google maps on android can store maps locally.

      • Anonymous

        Oh yeah? So, how does one go about downloading the actual maps onto the phone from google maps (like Nokia Maps), so a data connection is not needed? Please, explain. I’m not seeing on my SGS2.

      • Open maps and go to settings. Then go to labs and enable precache map area. Then press and hold an area and select pre cache area. A 10 miles radius will be downloaded.

  • Aric Bolf

    I can see how Apple can replace Google search with Siri, and Google Maps with Apple Maps, but i don’t see how they could replace YouTube.

    • Siri does not replace Google search.. it actually uses it in the background. Apple maps so far is little more than a tech demo.

      • Aric Bolf

        I meant in the theoretical sense. Search results are just that, something Apple could make on its own. However, the content on YouTube cannot be replaced or duplicated.

      • Aric Bolf

        I meant in the theoretical sense. Search results are just that, something Apple could make on its own. However, the content on YouTube cannot be replaced or duplicated.

      • I think you are massively underestimating how much effort it takes to create a search engine and it’s infrastructure. Currently Google Search is the biggest ‘Entity’ on the internet. Even with Apple’s resources it would take years to replicate and would have a smaller market share than Bing (who have been trying for years).

  • I doubt apple can best google when it comes to maps.

  • i hope to see a good world wide scale maps and not only US and Canada….

  • Anonymous

    If it doesn’t incorporate driving directions OR transit information, then it’s going to be pointless to me.