Users of iOS 6 will be more than aware by now that Google’s powerful Maps app is no longer part of Apple’s plans, with the latest iteration of the company’s mobile operating system shipping with their own mapping solution in place of it. It doesn’t really matter what your personal opinions are on the subject and whether you love or hate the Apple’s very own Maps app, the fact remains that competition always breeds innovation and having an official Google Maps app on the App Store can only be a good thing for iOS users.
There’s been a lot of will they won’t they speculation in recent weeks about whether or not Google is actually working on bringing an official solution of their own to the App Store, and if the latest leaks and speculation are true then the answer is that they definitely are about to launch something. Designer and developer Ben Guilds has posted some blurry but recognizable images on his personal blog that he claims to show Google’s iOS Maps app and insists that it is currently in an alpha stage of development.
In addition to the pictures being posted of the app; Guilds is also going out on a limb and attaching some purported features of the app to the images. One of the great benefits of the new Apple Maps app in iOS 6 is that it is entirely vector-based which allows Apple to cache a larger area for offline viewing as well as using significantly less data to render mapping tiles. According to the reports; the Google Maps app will also be vector-based and will support a similar two-finger rotation facility that can also be found in the native iOS 6 Maps app.
It is also being reported that the alpha version of the app provides a lightning fast user-experience and comes with an interface that has been specifically crafted to work perfectly with the larger display on the iPhone 5 and the new fifth-gen iPod touch. This is obviously all unofficial and readers will more than likely draw their own conclusions from the attached images, but it is extremely exciting news for iOS users if it is indeed true. It does however leave a few questions unanswered about whether or not the app will boast 3D maps and imagery, and whether or not it will come with an iPad variant, or be universal? Time will tell.