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Leaked screenshots reveal Google's plans to launch iOS maps app

Google is working on a map app for iOS 6, according to a collection of leaked screenshots that have appeared online (opens in new tab).

The images of an alleged alpha build of the app were published by San Francisco developer Ben Guild (opens in new tab), who described the app as using vector-based software, like Google’s maps for Android and Apple’s iOS 6 offering. Guild did not say how he managed to get his hands on the screenshots, but also listed support for the iPhone 5’s 4in display, ‘super-fast’ speed, and two-finger angle rotation among the forthcoming app’s other features.

It is also believed to run on topographical information from Google Earth, according to a report from The New York Times (opens in new tab).

(opens in new tab)Apple’s mapping app has had many an iOS 6 user ruing the day they updated their devices, as the loss of Google Maps as the default map software left some customers without a dependable navigation app. With public disdain for Apple Maps escalating to the point that required Apple CEO Tim Cook to offer an apology, the tech world has been rife with speculation as to whether, and when, Google would release an iOS map app.

In an interview last week, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt addressed the controversy. "What Apple has learned is that maps are really hard. We invested hundreds of millions of dollars in satellite work, airplane work, drive-by work to get the maps accurate and we think we have the best product in the industry,” he told AllThingsD’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, describing his company’s rivalry with Apple as a ‘defining contest’ of the industry.