updated 10:50 am EST, Wed December 8, 2010
Google Latitude Japan post hints imminent release
Google today briefly posted an iPhone version of Latitude on iTunes in Japan (App Store, since pulled) that hinted the native app would finally reach Apple devices. Like the Android version, it lets fellow Google account users see each others' position in frequent (though not real-time updates. The version that surfaced revealed that it had native iOS 4 support and would optionally provide background position updates.
The reasons for the app's disappearance aren't known, but it's likely to have been a premature release rather than any action from Apple.
Google had initially tried releasing an iPhone 3.0 version of Latitude but was forced to make a web-only version after the native app was rejected for allegedly being too similar to Apple's own Maps. Many believe that it was more in retaliation for Android since it came at the same time as Google Voice was also shot down for similar reasons.
A recent loosening of iOS app rules owed partly to regulatory pressure is believed to have opened the door to Google Voice and Latitude, although iOS 4.0 also meant Google could differentiate itself through background updates. [via TechCrunch]