Google has released a mapping app for Apple iPhones, iPods and iPads.

The unveiling of the app comes after months of criticism for Apple's own mapping application, which was introduced with iOS 6 in September.

Apple's Maps service replaced a previous version which used Google's data, switching to providers including TomTom.

While Apple's app added its own custom graphics, 3D flyovers and turn-by-turn navigation, it was also attacked for including wildly inaccurate data and misleading directions.

Apple later apologised and promised - first in October and as recently again as last week - that it was putting everything behind improving the service.

It had been rumoured for weeks that Google was preparing to launch its own dedicated iOS app for maps, and its release has been greeted with huge enthusiasm, shooting straight to the top of the app charts.

The new Google Maps app runs on iOS 5.1 and above, and includes Google Street View, which was removed when Apple switched to its own mapping solution.

You can download the app here.

It also features turn-by-turn driving navigation, public transport information and walking directions, high-resolution satellite imagery and new gesture-based controls.

Google said on its official blog:

People around the world have been asking for Google Maps on iPhone. Starting today, we’re pleased to announce that Google Maps is here—rolling out across the world in the Apple App Store. It’s designed from the ground up to combine the comprehensiveness and accuracy of Google Maps with an interface that makes finding what you’re looking for faster and easier.

On Apple's App store the reaction was overwhelming.

"At long last!" said one reviewer, who gave the app five stars. "Glad to have this back on my iPhone."

"Finally it's here!" added another fan. As of press time the app had 144 five star reviews, out of a total of 165.

But weeks after the original release, Apple's Maps are still creating headlines.

Recently it was claimed by police in Australia that the app was putting lives at risk by leading travellers looking for a town in Victoria into a national park 70 km away, at the height of summer. The mistake was fixed, but it illustrated the concerns of many who had already lost patience with Apple's switch.

The maps release was widely greeted with joy - except for one lonely Twitter user: Apple Maps itself:

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  • Aldwych Station

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  • The Beauty Of Cambridge

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  • Bad Luck, F Chamberlain And Sons

    This greengrocers is listed on Apple's maps - but has been closed for 15 years.

  • Airfield?

    This man's 35-acre city farm is named Airfield. It is not an Air Field - but Apple has decided otherwise.

  • Apple Loses Its Own Store

    The Apple store in Sydney is listed as being on the other side of the road than it really is. Oops.

  • St Katherine's Dock Loses Its Water

    The marina of St. Katherine's Dock is now filled with cement, according to Apple.

  • Hagley? You Mean Dudley.

    The town of Hagley is listed as being the town of Dudley - at least seven miles away.

  • Uckfield

    The town of Uckfield is almost entirely missing from Apple's Maps.