With the launch of iPhoto for iOS last Wednesday, it was quickly noted that the app was not using Google Maps for much of its mapping data, and it was soon revealed that Apple was using data from OpenStreetMap and other sources in the application.

Google Maps has had a prominent presence on the iPhone since its initial launch in 2007, but strained relationships between Google and Apple have seen Apple expressing interest in developing its own mapping solutions. Toward that end, Apple has acquired several mapping companies in recent years in order to beef up its expertise in the area.

ipad retina side by side
Side-by-side comparisons of iPad displays using iBooks, iPhoto, and Mail

AppleInsider now points to an interesting omission on Apple's promotional pages for the new iPad, with a set of images comparing the device's Retina display with the display of the iPad 2 having specifically omitted a comparison of Google Maps even though the comparison images are posted on Apple's servers.

Viewing the file names of the "Retina Gallery" images shows that they are identified with numbers. AppleInsider reader Pierre-Arnaud pointed out on Tuesday that the iBooks images are labeled as "1" and screenshots of "Photos" are "2," but the images of the Mail application are saved with the "retina_gallery_4" filename.

That means the JPG files labeled "3" were originally planned as part of the imagery, but were eventually left out of the promotional material on the finalized website.

Those "3" files are present on Apple's servers and depict a Google Maps route in Paris.

ipad retina google maps
Google Maps photo present on Apple's servers but not used in side-by-side display comparison

Google Maps is not featured in any of Apple's promotional materials for the new iPad, suggesting that Apple is indeed trying to play down the role of Google Maps on the device. But whether this is indicative of a transition to Apple's own mapping services in the relatively near future remains unknown.

Update: As noted in the forum thread, the Google Maps comparison is present on Apple's promotional page in Hong Kong.

Related Roundup: iPad
Buyer's Guide: iPad (Buy Now)
Related Forum: iPad

Top Rated Comments

rmwebs Avatar
125 months ago
From what I understand, Google now requires you to watermark their name all over maps that you use for 'commercial reasons'. That could be why Apple didn't post those images

No, thats incorrect. Just like with the OpenMaps Project, Google require their copyright in the bottom corner.

IMO this is not a good move. Google Maps are highly reliable, and the licensing fee is negligible. OSM on the other hand are usually inaccurate unless someone who lives in the area has manually gone into their system and fixed it.

A stupid move all over a stupid feud between the two companies.

Everyone has said that all the lawsuits and stuff haven't affected customers. They will soon if Apple moves to OSM.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
basesloaded190 Avatar
125 months ago
Definitely. Here's hoping we get turn-by-turn Siri directions as well.

I would love to get a free turn by turn a la Andriod in iOS6, and with Siri, that would be amazing.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rorschach Avatar
125 months ago
Apple would not have spent money to buy those mapping companies for no reason. It's pretty obvious that at some point they are going to ditch Google Maps for their own solution.

It makes sense. The Maps app is one of the core apps of the phone (whether you think the app sucks or not) along with Mail, Safari, etc. Apple doesn't want one of the core features of its flagship product to be dependent on a competitor; and what company would?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
URFloorMatt Avatar
125 months ago
New maps for ios6?
Definitely. Here's hoping we get turn-by-turn Siri directions as well.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
basesloaded190 Avatar
125 months ago
New maps for ios6?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rmwebs Avatar
125 months ago
Yeah, that's right. Looking at Google Maps now, their footpath coverage is vastly superior to Ordnance Survey. They have so many more cycle routes than OpenStreetMap. And they get every new road on the day it opens. They are so good no-one has ever set up a blog about their foul-ups (http://googlemapsfail.tumblr.com/).

Oh wait, no, that's bollocks.
Dont be stupid.

My statement stood and still stands and nobody has proven me wrong. Instead you've said that OSM is superior in a very minor niche, and certainly not globally.

So here it is again: Google maps is annoying as hell, BUT is the most superior option OVERALL across the GLOBE (I'm not talking about some narrow minded 'US only' crap here- I'm talking above overall, as that is what counts).

If you wish to prove me wrong please do, but as it stands all I've had as responses is tiny snippets of single results (e.g OSM mapped my road better than GMaps) - nobody has a complete global look at it because they know that GMaps is superior.

Get out from under the rock and face facts - as it stands, nobody provides a better online free mapping solution than Google, thats fact, plain and simple.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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