A comment on Google+ by Jeff Huber, senior VP of commerce and local at Google, suggests the company will continue to provide its maps offering in some form in the future on iOS, despite Apple's apparent slaying of the service's native presence in the sixth major iteration of its mobile operating system.
Here's the exact comment, along with the question it was in reply to:
William Dowell: Just REALLY hope all this hard work is sill appreciable from an iOS device. I can assure you that just because some of us have iPhones and iPads doesn't mean we don't prefer Google Maps over the elementary stuff Apple is said to be proposing! We need a great Google Map app. Pleeeease!
Jeff Huber: We look forward to providing amazing Google Maps experiences on iOS.
Like a double rainbow: What does it mean? It could just be that Google will continue to support the Maps app on devices running iOS 5 and older. A more optimistic view is that an app is in the works to replace what iOS users have grown used to. Or — and this is my guess — Google will just make sure Google Maps looks and runs great in Mobile Safari.
Google's own developer conference, I/O 2012, will start on June 27 in San Francisco, so maybe we'll hear more about its plans then.