Apple is typically a company that likes to control everything surrounding its products by putting everything within its own ecosystem. It’s a little strange, then, that Apple products have to rely on Google Maps for certain key functions.
For one, the iPhone's Maps app relies entirely on Google's data set and service. Without Google Maps, the iPhone Maps app from Apple is nothing. Apple also uses Google Maps for the geolocation feature for tagged photos in iPhoto.
Apple seems like it's gearing up to cut the cord, as it's now uncovered that the Cupertino computer company has purchased Placebase, a company that specialized in customized mapping. Placebase's former CEO now indicates on LinkedIn that he is part of the Geo Team at Apple. A former CTO of Placebase is also working at Apple now, according to Computerworld.
Although Google is typically the company that plays well with others, the search giant's CEO Eric Schmidt stepped down from Apple's board of directors due to the two companies competing on more fronts. With Android vs. iPhone, Chrome vs. Safari, and soon Chrome OS vs. Mac OS X, there was growing overlap in what Google could do for Apple.
While we doubt that Apple will launch a web-based Google Maps-like service, it's now only natural to expect that with an in-house mapping technology, Apple will eventually transition away from Google. Only time will tell if Apple's product will be able to best Google's mapping proficiency.