It's an open secret that Apple is actively looking for ways to extricate itself from Google's sphere of influence, and one sliver of evidence of that can be found in the new iPhoto for iOS: Apple-sourced map tiles are used in some of the app's features in place of the usual Google Maps.

Thing is, they're not Apple-sourced. That's the claim being levied by OpenStreetMap, an organization that functions a bit like Wikipedia for mapping, which says that iPhoto is "missing the necessary credit" to use its data. And what's more, OSM says that the cut of data Apple's using is "rather old," which might explain why the company isn't yet abandoning Google for more mission-critical mapping functionality in iOS:

Yesterday Apple launched iPhoto, its photo management app, for the iPad and iPhone... and we're rather pleased to find they're the latest to switch to OpenStreetMap.

The desktop version of iPhoto, and indeed all of Apple's iOS apps until now, use Google Maps. The new iPhoto for iOS, however, uses Apple's own map tiles - made from OpenStreetMap data (outside the US).

If you don't have iPhoto, you can view the maps using this unofficial viewer from Dair Grant or a transparent comparison from Ivan Sanchez.

The OSM data that Apple is using is rather old (start of April 2010) so don't expect to see your latest and greatest updates on there. It's also missing the necessary credit to OpenStreetMap's contributors; we look forward to working with Apple to get that on there.

But we're delighted to see another prominent map user make the switch to OpenStreetMap, and look forward to many more.

OSM's message seems pleasant overall, but we're waiting to see how quickly Apple responds to the allegations. Cupertino's bought a number of mapping companies in recent years — Poly9, Placebase, and C3 Technologies — so it's really not a question of if Google Maps will disappear from iOS; it's a question of when, and whether OSM will factor into the equation in the long term.