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Apple unveiling Google Maps alternative in iOS 6?

Company has reportedly been working on its own Maps service for the next version of its iOS platform, meaning it might kick Google Maps off the operating system.

Google Maps on Apple's iOS.
Google Maps on Apple's iOS. Screenshot by Matt Elliot/CNET

When Apple launches iOS 6 later this year, it may come with a new Maps application, according to a report.

Apple has been secretly developing a Google Maps alternative that it will bundle with iOS 6, Apple enthusiast site 9to5Mac is reporting today, citing "trusted" sources. Dubbed simply Maps, the application will replace Google Maps on the iOS platform and deliver a "much cleaner, faster, and more reliable experience" than its predecessor, according to 9to5Mac.

As with Google Maps, Apple's Maps application will provide driving directions and pinpoint locales on a map, according to 9to5Mac. In addition, it will come with a StreetView-like experience and a 3D mode for viewing places in a more realistic way.

Over the last few years, Apple has been quietly acquiring mapping companies that, 9to5Mac says, are working on the application. A Swedish firm Apple bought last year, called C3 Technologies, has been working on the 3D feature, while its other recent buys, Placebase and Poly9, might have been hard at work on the database, directions, and other features. Apple acquired Placebase back in 2009 for its mapping service, which worked quite similarly to Google Maps.

Apple has been slowly but surely pushing Google Maps away. Back in March, Apple's iOS iPhoto application switched from Google Maps to OpenStreetMap data. However, Apple didn't acknowledge the changeover until earlier this month.

CNET has contacted Apple for comment on the 9to5Mac report. We will update this story when we have more information.

Update 11:31 a.m. PT All Things Digital is reporting now that it has "independently confirmed" that Apple is, in fact, working on a Maps app to replace Google Maps. The publication's source says that the feature will "blow your head off," but wouldn't divulge any more details.