Google Maps app for iPhone will be ready before the end of the year: reports

Google is understood to be putting the finishing touches to its iPhone app but doubts remain as to whether Apple will allow it in its App Store.

According to reports in The Guardian, Google is almost ready to ship a downloadable dedicated Google Maps app written for the latest iPhone and iPad. However, sources close to the project believe that it's highly unlikely Apple will approve it for use on its devices and that the app will not make it into the App Store.

The story has whipped up a storm of discussion and criticism on tech blogs and across social media accusing Apple of being unfair and anti-competitive. On Twitter, @martincoward said of the news, "Another day, another reason to regret my iOS6 upgrade: Google sources think maps app might struggle for Apple approval."

However, 24 hours after the initial report, Cnet journalist Casey Newton has waded into the discussion and claimed that The Guardian's sources are wrong and that Apple will approve the app, underlining the fact that when Apple apologized for its own maps app, it recommended using Google as an alternative, and the fact that if Apple were to reject the app, the company, even with its millions of fans, would not be able to deal with the negative publicity and media backlash that would follow such a decision.

So, if you're an iPhone or iPad owner and you're running iOS6, Google Maps looks set to be in the Apple App Store before the end of the year.