It's no big secret that Apple wants to get away from its dependency on Google Maps in iOS — the company has bought several mapping companies over the last few years, and iPhoto for iOS launched in March with maps provided by the OpenStreetMap foundation. Now, according to a report by 9to5Mac, Apple will finally replace Google Maps in iOS 6 with its own in-house solution. On the surface, the app won't be significantly different than the iOS mapping system as it stands today, but it's rumored to include an immersive 3D mode powered by technology from C3, whom Apple purchased last fall.

C3 had a specific focus on 3D mapping, so it stands to reason we'll see their technology when Apple does move away from Google maps — it sounds like it'll power a "street view" style option as well as an overhead 3D view (which sounds similar to the excellent 3D mode that Nokia includes in its browser-based mapping tool). While nothing is set in stone until Apple officially takes the wraps off iOS 6 (which is likely to happen in just a few weeks at WWDC 2012), it's worth noting that 9to5Mac has a good track record with iOS predictions — the site correctly predicted the inclusion of Siri on the iPhone 4S. Either way, we should hear about what Apple has in store for maps in iOS 6 before too long.

Update: All Things D is now independently confirming this story, reporting that a source is claiming the new Maps app in iOS 6 will be a "tent-pole" feature and that it'll "blow your head off." It sounds like Apple indeed has a pretty major update in store for users, and it's about time — Maps on iOS has changed very little since it was introduced back in 2007.