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The latest Apple rumor in anticipation of next month’s Worldwide Developers Conference does not (necessarily) revolve around the release of a new device. It is more mapped to the inside of the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
According to a source of 9to5Mac, Apple plans to replace Google Maps with its own technology in iOS 6, which would likely debut at WWDC. This would allegedly involve a cleaner and faster interface, new logo, and backend mapping technology Apple bought into with acquisitions of Placebase, C3 Technologies and Poly9. Most defining in the new map app is a user-enabled 3D mode.
This information was later confirmed by All Things D, and advanced by MG Siegler writing for TechCrunch and noting that iOS 6 is being codenamed "Sundance" internally at Apple.
One major point introduced by Siegler that will impact app developers and consumers is what will happen to existing iOS apps that leverage Google Maps? Will Apple allow that to continue, set up a transitional grace period, or plain force developers to use its own map app immediately and moving forward?
No doubt we will learn more in the weeks ahead, perhaps when Apple CEO Tim Cook takes the stage to open All Things D later this month.
Beyond the software
The inevitable follow-up question is whether iOS 6 would run within a next-generation iPhone. Apple’s iDevices don’t always respond well to software updates as significant as what 9to5Mac is reporting. For our money, a game-changing new iPhone 5 would be the best showcase for the new technology.