If you are just a causal map user, or a map enthusiast who has been hiding under a rock, you might have missed the map spars Google and Apple are taking at each other. I'll preface this by saying Google Maps was what finally convinced me to buy an iPad (who am I kidding, they had only been out for a week).
Before Steve Jobs threatened to go all global thermonuclear war on Android (War Games style), Google and Apple seemed to have somewhat of a budding partnership. There's no doubt Apple's core (no pun, well ok, pun) mobile products success is in part due to seamless and beautiful integration of maps...Google Maps.
Well Google and Apple are getting a divorce, and each seems to be trying to piss the other off by upgrading to a hotter wife.
There's no doubt Apple didn't like the idea of being so reliant on Google Maps. It must have been hard for them to fully realize how far behind they were in the great map race. Nevertheless, Google was perfect for the iPhone and despite the souring relationship at the top. Apple continued to be reliant on Google Maps. There is little doubt Apple has been working on catching up to Google in the Great Map Race for some time. There's also little doubt that Google beginning to charge developers for every 1,000 map requests over 25,000 per day rubbed Apple the long way.
Apple is notoriously tight lipped about product changes and development. The decision to drop Google Maps from the iDevices was not very well hidden.
The race to out-do the other is on. We heard Apple would announce "Google Maps to be sacked" at the June 11 (today) WWDC. Not to be out done, Google announced they would be making a presentation on June 6th about updates to Google Maps, including some pretty cool 3d stuff.
I'm reminded of the T. Pain and Justin Timberlake song, Dead and Gone with the lyric: "I hit you, you hit me, I shoot you who get locked up? Me". It sounds much better when sung, but the point is, this is a BIG risk for Apple. If they don't come out with a product that equals Google Maps, they are in trouble. Because of more and more location based apps impacting the user experience with mobile devices, anything less than Google Maps could see Android picking up ever more market share.
It sounds as though Apple is looking to pick up right where they made Google leave. I've only seen screen shots from the Apple Maps announcement earlier today. The jury is still out.
Here's a thought, Google. MERGE GOOGLE MAPS AND GOOGLE EARTH.