Kicking Google Maps off of iOS 6 was a bad idea, and even Apple has admitted as much. The company was even warned by developers before the launch of the new OS, but ignored those warnings out of arrogance or inattention.
The mistake, really, was Apple thinking that it could match the functionality and polish of Google Maps simply by buying up map data and coding their own software. Google Maps has over 7,000 employees working to make sure every street is accurate and that satellite photography isn't covered in clouds or distorted. Just this past week Google released a huge update to its Street View Imagery, with pictures taken by a fleet of employees who drive around the world.
Google has been coy when it comes to a standalone Google Maps app for iOS. Though it is inevitable that the app will eventually be released, it seems odd that Google wouldn't already have an iOS app ready to go. It's as if Google didn't actually believe Apple would put its inferior Maps app into iOS 6.
Today, we finally have some hard proof that Google is working on an iOS Google Maps app. A post over on the Ben Guild blog shows what are claimed to be three different screenshots of the software. The photos are very blurry, though, so don't put too much stock in them. Guild also claims that the app, which in in an Alpha state currently, will be vector-based, have two-finger rotation capabilities, and will support the iPhone 5's 4-inch screen.