Last month, at the WWDC 2012, Apple Maps booted out Google Maps as the default maps application in iOS 6. Apple’s own mapping solution features real-time traffic updates, turn-by-turn navigation, Yelp integration, vector graphics, and 3D flyovers. Ever since that announcement, Apple has released 2 beta versions of iOS 6 to the developers with slight improvements to the Maps app, but it is still far from being perfect.

Apple’s foray into Maps clearly showed the importance of owning a mapping solution, including the huge business listing databases. And the recent acquisition of UpNext, a 3D mapping startup by Amazon, only confirms how the major tech companies value mapping data.

Apple Maps for Macs

Our developer friend, Cody Cooper, has now stumbled upon an interesting code dump in the iOS 6 maps application that hints at the possibility of Apple Maps coming to Macs in the near future.

During his routine investigation of the Maps app, Cody found some interesting bits in the file altitude_manifest.xml


In this XML file, there is a reference to a set of Intel-based graphics chipsets for which certain features like Shading are disabled.


Cody says that older Intel chipsets are known to not support shading very well, and that’s probably why Apple wants to disable that feature on these Macs or will be software rendered. It is interesting to note that there is no reference to ATI Radeon chipsets in the list above. Though we don’t know the exact reason, it is probably because they are proper graphics cards that can support shaders.

This should almost confirm that Apple Maps is coming to iMacs & Macbooks. I cannot think of any other reason for Apple to have references to Intel chipsets in their Maps app. Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion’s final version is due this month. Will we see the Apple Maps app along with the Mountain Lion release? Let’s wait and watch.

Update: As a few comments point out, the code might very well be related to the iPhone simulator and ensure proper rendering of the Maps app on the simulator.

Related Read: How to Use Apple Maps on Windows and Android

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