iOS 5 Map app will still use map data from Google?

iOS 5 Map app will still use map data from Google?

Mark Gurman, writing for 9to5Mac 9to5Google received a tip saying that although Apple may improve the Maps app for iOS 5, they'll still use Google for the actual map data, just like they've done since iOS 1 (iPhone OS):

Now, sources have told 9to5Google that although Apple is working to improve the iOS Maps application, iOS 5 will not bring an Apple developed maps service and Google Maps is still in.

This makes a lot of sense. There are two major map data providers, TeleAtlas, which is now owned by TomTom, and Navteq, now owned by Nokia. Almost everyone else has to license the data from them, with the exception of Google who has since re-mapped and compiled their own map database. The companies Apple purchased, PlaceBase and Poly9, seem to do really interesting things with map data, but don't seem to have any map database themselves, and while Apple has been compiling location data, there's no evidence they've re-mapped roads the way Google has. (Though they may be in the process of doing that.)

So if Apple is working on updating the iOS Maps app, my best guess is it will be in the layers above the raw map data, and once again they'll use user interface and experience, and very cool software as the differentiator, no the pipes themselves. If you own the UI, you can swap out the pipes whenever you want, like they swapped out Skyhook for Google, and then Google their own database for location.)

Anything specific you'd like to see in iOS 5 Maps?


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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iOS 5 Map app will still use map data from Google?


I don't see any ads when using Maps Navigation on my Nexus One. Can you tell me which ads I'm supposed to be seeing?

I couldn't disagree more. Bing is not half of Google maps. Google maps is much easier to use.

Bing is much better than google, has more features and can provide sln-2 maps in native format

More GPS type features. It's just a map I use occasionally. I could never depend on it for good driving directions. This is sort of off tangent but related .. The compass SUCKS.

Voice nav with turn by turn. Plus some sort of integration with the calendar so users can navigate to the address in the Loc field of an appointment.

I use the Maps app regularly to check the bus schedule (draws on Google Transit, I'm sure). I'd love it to keep that functionality, but might be nice if they can come up with another maps source other than Google; maybe an open source option like OpenStreetMap?

I use google maps on many platforms. If Apple used a different layer it would be a disaster. I Make use of map layer overlays and develop geo content, if Apple stops using google for maps we would have to seriously rethink our development or drop iOS!

Google does not provide sln-2 access to their map data, i hope they fix it so it can be incorporated into iphone

Hear, hear,
Apple should do exactly the same as HTC.
HTC made a deal with TomTom. TomTom maps are pre installed and on HTC phones, on a navigation app. The app is free. Within the app customers can buy add-ons like traffic information, turn-by-turn, voices, etc.. HTC bypasses Google maps and goes straight to their own app.
Advantages for Apple if they do the same:
- TomTom maps are far more advances outside the US, than Google's. Actually Google is a customer from TomTom to fill in the gaps in their maps. Apple has many customers in Europe, and they want to grow in Asia as well. So they will need proper maps outside the US as well.
- Not letting Google maps grow too big to ever compete. The more customers use Google maps, including iphone users, the more knowledge Google maps acquires.
If Apple wants to be in the location business in 5 years, they have no choice but to by-pass Google now. Even though that might harm some relationships.

I'd like to see something other than Chinese characters on my maps! I don't read Chinese characters.

I would like to see the option where you could see all of your bookmarks at once. I used many dropped pins on the app and bookmarked them. So, I could travel there in the future; but I want to see all of them instead of selecting just one. That way I can see the dropped pin that I want to go to and all of the others around it.