Back in July, Apple stealthily acquired Placebase, a mapping company that provides a service similar to Google Maps, but with more robust customizations and set of APIs for layering data sets over map data.

Google and Apple have been steadily moving from friends to frenemies of late, with the advent of Android and CloudOS, the whole Google Voice and Google Latitude rejection brouhaha, and Google's CEO leaving Apple's board. TiPb's conjectured that Apple might see Google as trying to take over everyone else's platform as well, so it makes a certain amount of sense (especially given their history with the Mac) to have in-house backups for all the services Google currently offers for the iPhone. A billion-dollar data center might factor into that as well...

Given that Apple wrote the iPhone Maps app themselves, and just used Google for the backend, a switch to Apple Maps might even be transparent to the end user. TiPb's also discussed Apple's philosophy that the interface is the app, which again shows why Apple might be hesitant to give UI over to Google through Google Voice or Latitude -- they can't swap that out as easily.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see what an Apple Maps might look like...

(via 9to5mac and Computerworld)