Google Maps Screenshots Carefully Left Out of iPad Promo Material, Sign that Apple Plans to Launch its Mapping Service Soon?

Apple has been snapping up mapping companies for the last few years, beginning with Placebase in 2009 and Poly9 in 2010, and then Swedish mapping company C3 Technologies in 2011.

The Cupertino-based company also began using its own databases for location-based services back in 2010, and that, coupled with the acquisition of the mapping companies, has had many speculating that Apple has been working on its own mapping solution for quite some time now.

During the release of the new iPad, Apple chose not to display images of Google Maps, even though it had them at the ready. In the “Features” section of Apple’s website for the third generation iPad, Apple gives a side-by-side comparison of the iPad 2 display next to the Retina Display of the iPad 3, showing three apps: iBooks, Photos, and Mail.

As discovered by a reader of AppleInsider, the labels of the images in the gallery indicate that there’s a missing image – planned, but left out of the final gallery. Entering the missing filename, “retina_gallery_3” reveals that the files were images of Apple’s Maps application. In addition, Apple did not use Google Maps for mapping data in the new iOS version of iPhoto, instead choosing data from the OpenStreetMap Foundation.

Do these omissions mean the company is trying to transition away from using Google’s imagery? It may be yet another clue that Apple is nearing the release of its own, superior mapping solution, which will allow it to drop rival Google’s mapping technology. This is a solid move for Apple because as of January 2012, Google began charging $4 per 1,000 views for people who use more than 25,000 instances of the Google Maps API per day.

Google has such dominance in the maps sector. Does Apple stand a chance of creating a competing product?

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  • wimija

    Maps was there earlier, showcased as a fourth comparison between retina and non-retina display. I think that was on release say. Odd that they removed it.