The Wall Street Journal reports that Google is putting the finishing touches on a new Google Maps app that will be compatible with both Apple's (AAPL) iPad and the iPhone. An unnamed source also told The Journal that Google has started distributing the app to people outside the company for testing.
Although the source could not say when Google will actually submit its new Google Maps app for approval to the iTunes store, the report is still promising for iPhone 5 users who have been missed having a stand-alone Google Maps app on their phone, and those who have resisted downloading Apple's new operating system because they don't want to lose access to the app. (Me!)
Previous incarnations of the iPhone and iPad came with Google Maps pre-installed. The app wasn't perfect. It didn't have turn by turn directions, for example, which is a very popular feature of Google Maps for Android.
Still, it was reliable and familiar. So when Apple replaced Google Maps with its own Maps app on the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 in September, users, and the media, revolted.
Apple's Maps were famously flawed, not to mention not as complete as Google's Maps, leading Apple's CEO Tim Cook to issue an apology for the company's mistake.
"At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers," Cook said in a letter. "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," he continued.
Then he went on to suggest that iOS 6 users turn to other map apps like MapQuest and Waze, or use Google Maps by going to its website.
One good thing that may come out of the Apple/Google Maps mess is that the Wall Street Journal says the new Google Maps app for the iPhone is expected to have turn-by-turn navigation.