Can maps bring us together? In the case of location-specific social app Foursquare and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), a common interest in weaning off Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) maps technology has the two companies cuddling closer than before.

Foursquare is the bigger beneficiary. Apple is featuring the newest version of its app -- which was released Thursday -- as an "Editor's Choice" at the App Store home page on iTunes:

Foursquare

Source: Apple iTunes Store.

Interestingly, reaction hasn't been great so far. Too many longtime users of the Foursquare service believe it's a copycat refresh made to look more like Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) or Yelp (NYSE: YELP) than an enhanced version of the original app, which at one time threated to become the next Twitter.

"The new Foursquare is just a grab for cash," wrote reviewer JT92101, who claims to also be an app author. "Just more unwanted commercial messages in my face, trying to push me into trying this restaurant or that dry cleaner. I realize that Foursquare has to figure out a way to make money -- but this isn't it."

Ouch.

Is the app really that bad? I don't think so. Sure, there are recommendations, but most of what I see under the app's "explore" button refers to places either my friends or I have recommended. I'm also perfectly happy to be made aware of check-in rebates made possible through Foursquare's budding relationship with American Express (NYSE: AXP).

Apple could make the tie-in even more fruitful by transforming iTunes into a mobile-payments system. Check in and pay -- on the spot -- with Foursquare and let iTunes handle the handshake with AmEx. That the app is already an "Editor's Choice" suggests this may be more than just wishful thinking on my part.

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