Google Maps: How long until it's available for iPhone again?

Google was reportedly caught off-guard by Apple's decision to drop Google Maps and introduce its own Maps app in iOS 6, as the contract between the two companies still had more than a year left.

Noah Berger/Reuters
An iPhone is displayed at an Apple Store in San Francisco, California, Sept. 21.

Contrary to what Google CEO Eric Schmidt would have us believe, the company is indeed hard at work at developing a Google Maps app for the iPhone 5 and other Apple devices, sources tell the New York Times. Just don't expect to see it anytime soon; the same sources say that it will take over two months to put the finishing touches on the app. It might be even longer.

Why the delay? Both the NYT and The Verge report that Google was caught off-guard by Apple's decision to drop Google Maps and introduce its own home-brewed (and oft-maligned) Maps app in iOS 6, as the contract between the two companies still had more than a year left. According to the Verge, it will take "several months" for Google to ship its Maps app for the new iPhone

According to these reports, neither side was happy with the way things were going with Google Maps. Google apparently wanted more flexibility to promote its brand and include supplemental features like Latitude, while Apple harbored a deep desire for the turn-by-turn navigation feature included in the Android Google Maps app. Since the existing deal didn't require Google to include turn-by-turn navigation, Apple reportedly decided to introduce its own Maps.

Google also wants its iOS app to include 3D imagery to match the Apple Maps feature, the NYT's sources explained. Google Earth includes 3D images but it is an entirely separate app from Google Maps; part of the delay is due to the time it will take to merge the two code bases.

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