Why iOS is the next battleground in the mobile mapping war

The Wall Street Journal is reporting this morning that Google is testing a new version of its Maps offering for devices running Apple’s iOS. Citing an unnamed “person with direct knowledge of the matter,” the Journal said Google is making final tweaks before submitting the app to Apple’s App Store.

Google’s move comes on the heels of the release of Apple Maps, an error-prone offering that Apple may have rushed to market to replace Google Maps in iOS. Apple’s mobile operating system appears to be the next battleground in the mobile mapping wars, in fact, given Nokia’s recent announcement that it will bring its mapping solution to iOS in the near future.

Apple has an obvious edge here because it can integrate Apple Maps much more tightly with iOS than third parties can. But the company is scrambling to address the many flaws in its app, and building a solid mapping solution takes time — a fact that both Google and Nokia can attest to. Both Google and Nokia have a window here to jump out in front of Apple in the mapping game among Apple’s own users. I’ll be watching closely to see how well they take advantage of that opportunity before Apple produces a competitive product.