If you downloaded iPhoto for iOS after Apple released it a couple of days ago, you may have realized something was slightly different about the maps used for things like viewing the location of a photo taken. Some speculated Apple finally ditched Google Maps so it can stop relying on a competitor. It turns out that theory was true and OpenStreetMap confirms Apple has switched to its wiki map for use in iPhoto.
The OpenStreetMap Foundation was just as surprised as the rest of us, but confirmed the news on its blog:
The desktop version of iPhoto, and indeed all of Apple’s iOS apps until now, use Google Maps. The new iPhoto for iOS, however, uses Apple’s own map tiles – made from OpenStreetMap data (outside the US).
Though the OS X version of iPhoto along with Apple’s other iOS apps still use Google Maps as pointed out, the change in iPhoto for iOS signals the beginning of a shift; the end of Apple’s dependence on Google for map services. For a long time now, it’s been rumored Apple wanted to officially drop the final connection with its competitor and was possibly building its own, but it appears the company letting the contributors of OpenStreetMap do that for it.
For whatever reason, Apple chose to use old OpenStreetMap data dating back to April 2010. OSM also points out that the maps in iPhoto are wrongfully lacking credit to the contributors who make it possible, but plans on working with Apple to change that.
One trade-off of using OSM data is it’s not nearly as polished as Google Maps — from the design and layout to the actual data — but it can only get better over time. Plus, now that Apple gets to wave a huge middle finger at Google, I’m sure it’ll get over that minor disappointment.