Google Maps App for Apple's iOS 6: Early Images Leaked

The images are fuzzy, but the developer who posted them says they show what the Alpha version of the Google Maps for iOS 6 App looks like so far.

Leaked images of Google's Maps App for iOS 6 have been posted by a San Francisco-based apps developer who claims that the images show some of the planned features of the hotly awaited Maps App for Apple's latest mobile device operating system.

"Oh boy! Here we go," developer Ben Guild wrote in an Oct. 14 post about the upcoming new app on his Website. Guild claims the three fuzzy images are "leaked screenshots of native Google Maps (Alpha) for iOS6."

An email inquiry about the images had not yet been answered by Guild as of Oct. 15.

In his post, Guild wrote that the images show that the Google Maps App for iOS 6 appears to be vector-based, with "two-finger rotation to any angle." The app is allegedly "super-fast" and the "4-inch height of the iPhone 5 is supported," he wrote. "Get excited."

An email to Google seeking comment on the alleged images of the "leaked" product also had not been answered by press time.

The three color images posted by Guild are not whole screen shots, but instead show small parts of the screen image of the alleged app. One image shows a blurry yellow road squiggle and a small auto icon, along with a time reference of "less than one minute" for travel on that section of the map.

A second image shows an iPhone power icon on the top right, along with a compass pointer and a blurry green map image in the background. The third and last image in Guild's post shows a search box over another blurry section of a map.

Google's rumored Maps App for iOS 6 has taken on a lot of interest since Apple's new Maps App in iOS 6 debuted in September to vocal criticism from users.

After Apple's new iOS 6 operating system became available for download Sept. 19, many users around the world began taking to the Internet to loudly vent their frustrations about the loss of Google Maps in the company's new mobile operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The new Apple Maps app has been panned, based on dozens of posts on Twitter and other social media sites.

Among the loudest complaints are incorrect maps, a lack of points of interest being displayed and a total lack of transit directions for mass transit systems in large cities, which Apple says it will be adding later.

Apple's removal of Google Maps, which had been built into iOS since the debut of the iPhone in 2007, in favor of Apple's own Maps application was announced in May.

The problems and complaints regarding iOS 6 even inspired Apple CEO Tim Cook to apologize publicly for the lackluster performance of Apple's Maps service, which replaced Google Maps in the iOS system.

"At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers," Cook wrote in a note posted Sept. 27 on Apple's Website. "With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers, and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better."

Cook even pointed out several mapping alternatives that Apple users can install in the meantime so they regain the mapping functions they had before Google Maps was removed from iOS 6. "While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their Websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their Web app."

Google Maps previously had been included in every previous version of iOS since the arrival of the iPhone in 2007. Apple removed Google Maps after a five-year agreement with Google expired.

One published report in late September said that Apple dropped Google Maps in iOS 6 because Google Maps at that point lacked voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions for mobile users.

Google has apparently been looking at building its own Google Maps App for iOS 6 since Apple announced that it would replace the app with its own version. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has publicly said that any such app would have to get approval from Apple to be offered in the Apple App Store.

The Apple-Google brouhaha over Google Maps isn't the only place where the two have been parting ways this year. Apple also announced in August that it was removing the YouTube player from iOS 6, which like Google Maps had been part of the operating system since the launch of the iPhone in 2007.

In the meantime, Google has been pumping up its mobile Google Maps offerings by, for the first time, making images from its Street View image library visible on mobile browsers. The images are visible through a mobile Web browser—not yet through a stand-alone app—whether mobile users are running Google's Android or Apple's iOS 6 or earlier systems.

The move will assist many Apple iOS 6 users who have been disappointed by the new Apple Maps service in Apple's new mobile operating system.

The new Street View images services certainly might have been in the Google product pipeline for a while, but its timing is particularly good for Google now in light of the problems that have been reported by iOS 6 users.