Google Maps returns to the Apple iPad

After its hiatus, the Google maps app has returned to the Apple iPad after an update to the popular iOS app has been pushed through by Google.

Following the disastrous launch of Apple Maps in-line with iOS 6 last year, users who are carrying the latest iOS have had no access to the world’s most popular mapping app.  Users have instead been forced to use the unsteady mobile web version of Google maps, or abandon it all together in favour of Apple’s native maps app.

Google released their anticipated maps iPhone app last December to great fanfare. Up until now, iPad users have been forced to use this iPhone version, which like all iPhone apps on the iPad, sits in a reduced size format in the middle of the screen. This is one of the reasons why a lot of Apple users avoided iOS 6 all together, including many acclaimed tech writers and enthusiasts.

Google have taken the opportunity to provide an overhauled experience for iPad and iPad mini owners. “A dedicated tablet design brings all the features of Google Maps, including Street View, to a larger screen, which makes exploring the world from the comfort of your living room engaging and fun,” Google said in a blog post. “Go from the Colosseum to your local pizza joint in just a few taps.”

Apple’s range of device screen sizes has grown over 2013, with the introduction of the Mini and its possible this trend will continue. Rumours continue to float around that the September iPhone 5S/6 launch will include two phones, with one being a ‘phablet’ size (essentially hybrid phone/iPad mini). With the iPhone 5 also being different dimensions to the previous generations, this is posing fresh challenges for app developers, like Google.

The new Google maps will offer some new functionality too. The live traffic updates and incident reports that Google built into the online version of their offering last year will now feature in the app. This will make the Google offering into more of a sat nav competitor than ever before, which will pile additional pressure on companies like TomTom and Garmin.

Additionally, Street view and the indoor maps, featuring walking instructions within big public buildings, will also feature.