With the launch of the iPhone 5 and the debut of the underlying iOS 6 operating system, Apple had abandoned its relationship with Google and removed the Google mapping service that powers the native iOS Maps app. Instead, Apple developed its own mapping solution, which has been met with criticism due to some inaccurate routing instructions and addresses, and it has been widely speculated that the rift between Google and Apple is only getting larger. Now, it seems that those who prefer Google Maps may not have too much longer to wait for Google to deliver a native third-party Google Maps app to Apple’s App Store.
A report on The Wall Street Journal says that Google has begun testing the third-party iOS mapping app externally and that the Internet search giant is now making final revisions to the app in preparation of submitting the app for Apple’s approval.
Google has distributed a test version of its new mapping app that will work on Apple’s iPhones to some individuals outside the company, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter. Google has been putting the finishing touches on the app before submitting it for approval to the Apple iTunes store, this person said, though it’s unclear exactly when that will happen.
The Google Maps app will be a much improved version of the Google Maps experience that was found on iOS versions prior to iOS 6. Reportedly, voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation will be an included feature of the mapping experience. Ironically, it was the lack of this feature that prompted Apple to look elsewhere according to prior speculations.
Voice-guided turn-by-turn directions have been available on Google’s Android platform for some time now in the U.S. and select countries.
So far, as a compromise to not having a native app available inside the App Store, Google is offering iOS 6 users access to its service via a web app.
If Google’s native mapping app is approved by Apple, it will compete against Apple’s native app. Additionally, rival Nokia, which owns mapping service Navteq, is anticipating the release of an iOS mapping app through a newly branded Here maps service.