Apple ditches Google Maps support with new iPhoto app

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Apple's new (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhoto application, introduced Wednesday in conjunction with its LTE-capable iPad tablet, leverages mapping information culled from Apple's own servers, not rival Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Maps.

Apple has previously relied on third-party resources like Google Maps for mapping data across its homegrown iOS and Mac applications, but citing sources within Google, 9to5Mac reports that Apple's mapping contract with Google expires at the end of 2012, adding Apple has not renewed the partnership for 2013. Apple last renewed its Google Maps agreement in mid-2011.

Blogger John Gruber of Daring Fireball has confirmed with Apple that iPhoto for iPad leverages its in-house services. "What I'm hearing now is that Places still uses Google Maps, but the maps in Journals and slideshows are not using Google Maps and are Apple's own stuff," Gruber writes.

Onlookers have long expected Apple to roll out its own mapping and navigation service. In June 2011, MacRumors reported that a "Map Data" section discovered within Apple's iOS 5 lists licenses from nine different third-party companies that provide location-enabled services. The firms include Waze, which offers real-time maps and traffic updates culled from crowd-source data; Urban Mapping, which supplies neighborhood-specific data including crime, school performance and economic indicators; and TomTom, whose TeleAtlas data is also licensed to Google.

Apple originally fueled speculation by acquiring digital mapping companies Placebase and Poly9. In March 2011, AppleInsider uncovered a job listing seeking an iOS Maps Application Developer to help "radically improve" Apple's location-based services. With the April 2010 release of iOS 3.2 for iPad, Apple also began relying on its own databases for location solutions alongside Google map data.

The new iPhoto for iPad allows users to edit and manipulate photos with a number of advanced techniques, including lightening photos, adjusting the white balance and adding effects. Users will also be able to share their photos through a number of platforms like Facebook and Twitter from inside iPhoto.

Apple said it will sell iPhoto for iPad for $4.99. The app is also available for the iPhone. The product appears to be a further effort by Apple to position the iPad as more than just a content-consumption device and more as a replacement for a desktop computer. It could also cut into the market for third-party photo manipulation apps from vendors such as Adobe Systems.

Along with iPhoto, Apple also said it will update its existing apps for iPad in order to take advantage of the device's improved display. Specifically, the company said it is updating its iWork, GarageBand and iMovie apps.

For more:
- read this 9to5Mac article
- read this Daring Fireball entry

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