Could Apple be about to ditch Google maps in the next iOS update? A supposedly leaked image of a map claimed to be from iOS 6 has appeared. The image is from the Watercolor tiles for OpenStreetMap.
This isn't the first time Apple has used a map from the OpenStreetMap Foundation. Apple is already using OpenStreetMap for the slideshow functionality in its new iPhoto for iOS - although it is still using Google Maps to assign Places. The 'leaked' image could just be from iPhoto, as it's watercolour style would suggest. (More below...)
Apple's use of OpenStreetMap in iPhoto has already raised eyebrows as Apple did not credit the company for the usage. Last month OpenStreetMap issued a blog post revealing that Apple is using some its mapping data: "The new iPhoto for iOS, however, uses Apple's own map tiles - made from OpenStreetMap data (outside the US)," writes the company.
It also notes that Apple is using out-of-date mapping data and not crediting appropriately: "It's also missing the necessary credit to OpenStreetMap's contributors."
Apple made a number of mysterious mapping-related acquisitions last year. Apple bought mapping company C3 Technologies, a spinoff of the aerospace and defense company Saab AB that uses declassified missile targeting methods to create incredibly high-quality and detailed 3D maps with virtually no input from humans. Apple also bought mapping software development company Placebase and 3D mapping firm Poly9.
Apple has relied on Google to provide Maps on its iOS devices since the launch of the iPhone in 2007. It is likely that its desire to move away from Google, is due to the tensions between the two companies.
Apple's late-CEO Steve Jobs was positive Android was "stolen" from iOS. He said: "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."
It's not only Apple who has moved away from Google Maps. Foursquare has also ditched Google for open source maps.