We had heard rumors that Apple would be bumping Google data from the Maps app in iOS 6, and a possible reason why, and now we've reached the next stage in the long road of rumors -- the blurry, highly cropped camera spy shot. BGR scored the pictures and, based on them and information they received along with them, produced a mock up of what's sure to be one of the headline features, especially on demo day -- 3D maps (see above).
3D models nothing new in the world of GPS apps, but certainly ambitious for Apple's debut. Apple has acquired a few companies in the mapping world leading up to this release, including C3 Technologies, Placebase, and Poly9. Given Apple and Google's quickly-souring relationship, it's no surprise to see iPhones and iPads without Google Maps preloaded, but I would be surprised if Apple didn't keep it available and updated as a regular ol' title in the App Store. To what extent will Apple scour all things Googly from iOS, though? Will YouTube get kicked out? Maybe switch the default search engine, but to what, Bing? It's laughable, but RIM did it. That's also assuming Apple would want to partner with anyone else; this move with maps sets an interesting precedent where Apple is the one making all of the preloaded services on the device. Not only does Apple have the cash to invest in pushing into these new areas, but it falls perfectly in line with their philosophy of owning the entire experience. I'm a little worried about Apple's ability to do that and retain quality, though; once upon a time, Nokia had a whole suite of solutions that they had made in-house, but eventually handed off the bulk of them to Yahoo! and ultimately to Microsoft.
The new maps app should be launching alongside iOS 6 this summer. Anyone excited to try it out, or is Google Maps still doing the job just fine? Do you think Apple will be able to do as good of a job as Google did, or do they lack the expertise, even with their handful of acquisitions? And the big question... If we don't end up liking the new built in Maps app, will we be able to get Google Maps in the App Store?