Evidence is mounting that Apple will replace Google Maps with its own alternative as the default mapping app for the iPhone in the upcoming iOS 6 release.
Multiple sources claim Apple is nearly ready to unveil its own mapping service, and may preview the system as early as its annual developers' conference next week, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Google Maps has been incorporated into the iPhone ever since the launch of the first iteration in 2007. But relations between the companies have famously collapsed due to Google's development of Android. According to the Journal's sources, Apple executives have been planning to supplant Google Maps on the iPhone since 2009, due to the fraying relationship and attendant disagreements between the companies over which features should be enabled in the iOS version.
Apple has since bought up several mapping companies, and recently quietly replaced the geocoder used in the iOS mapping service with its own alternative.
Replacing Google Maps could harm Google's ability to generate revenue from the service by collating location data and selling it to advertisers. One source claimed that as many as half the people who access Google Maps own Apple devices.
Late last month, Boy Genius Report published what appear to be photos of Apple's mapping service in action. The interface includes a ‘locate me’ icon, similar to Google Maps on Android. One screenshot shows an optional 3D view of the map.