Google versus Apple: The challenge for Maps supremacy

Google's Maps feature has long been the go-to source for smartphone users - both Android and iOS - to get from point A to point B.

That may soon change with Apple's impending announcement of a Maps feature of its own, which will be unveiled at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, later this month, PCWorld reports.

It has been rumored for years that Apple was developing a competing Maps product for its iPhones and iPads, with the defining feature being its 3D capabilities.

The app, which may be called "iMaps" or "Apple Maps," according to the news source, will give Google a legitimate competitor in the maps field. Apple also plans to no longer use Google Maps on its new iOS 6 software update, replacing it with its product that claims to be "cleaner, faster and more reliable," AllVoices reports. 

Users will have the option to switch in and out of 3D modes, and, according to BGR, Apple's offering will also feature a "refreshed" user interface with a silver navigation bar, deviating from the standard blue iOS color scheme. There will also be a floating "locate me" button, similar to the way Google Maps users can "pin" their location.

In response to this news, Google has taken action to counter Apple's big announcement with some Maps marketing of its own. Prior to WWDC, Google plans to host an event that will discuss what it calls "the next dimension" of its Maps app, according to PCWorld.

"At this invitation-only press gathering, Brian McClendon, VP of Google Maps and Google Earth, will give you a behind-the-scenes look at Google Maps and share our vision," quotes PCWorld. "We'll also demo some of the newest technology and provide a sneak peek at upcoming features that will help people get where they want to go - both physically and virtually."

The announcement is clearly intended to steal Apple's thunder, and, as AllVoices explains, is an attempt to make online maps "last week's news" by the time Apple rolls out its product.

Screenwerk raises some legitimate questions regarding how Apple's maps will pull its local search data to help users navigate to the desired destinations. If it doesn't build a local business database from the ground up, it may use outside sources such as Yelp or Infogroup, although nothing has been confirmed yet.