Tech

Apple is Rolling Out Major Maps Update in the United States

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated June 16, 2021

Apple has pleasantly surprised its US-based customers who are now getting an update on Maps, featuring a major redesign. The new version offers a vastly more detailed collection of navigation data, more precise addresses, more accurate land details, many more roads, and a lot more enriched pedestrian navigation information. All this additional data isn’t making the new maps any less snappy, and Apple actually claims that the new version is faster on all devices. While this rollout is happening only for the United States at the moment, Europe-based users should expect to receive it too in the next couple of months.

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Source: Apple

As Eddy Cue, the senior vice president of Apple’s Internet Software Services stated, Apple’s goal in this major update was to focus on the privacy aspects of Maps. No Apple ID sign-in is required, no user data is collected by the app, and whatever is stored locally to help the user enjoy a more comfortable service is “fuzzed” after 24 hours. To achieve tangible results in the usability field, Apple’s engineers had to rebuild the app from the ground up, re-imagining how the people use the software and what they’re doing with it. New features like the “Look Around” and the “Collections” are now introduced as part of this approach to make Maps an integral component of the day to day iOS experience.

“Look Around” is something like Google’s “Street View”, allowing users to enjoy the high-resolution 3D collage of photographs taken in major cities. For starters, this is only available for New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston, and Oahu, but more locations will be added soon. As for the “Collections”, this is a new feature that makes it possible for users to share their favorite locations/places with friends and family, turning the Maps into a platform of communication, information sharing, and social media.

Other new or improved features in the revamped Maps are the “One-Tap Navigation” to the user’s favorite places, “Real-Time Transit” information for buses and trains (currently limited to San Francisco Bay Area, Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles, and Miami), “Flight Status”, “Indoor Maps” for airports and malls, “Flyover” mode featuring photo-realistic 3D urban area views (available for 350 cities), and dynamically updating “Share ETA” with friends, family, and coworkers.

All of these amazing new features will undoubtedly bring many iOS users from Google Maps back to Apple’s native offering. When Apple Maps was released back in 2012, people ended up mocking the app due to it being so inaccurate, having an extremely poor database, and being ridden by numerous bugs and errors. Since then, Apple has been trying to bring the Maps up to a level that is analogous to the company’s quality character, but it was not an easy feat. The last time Maps received a major update was back in the summer of 2018, so this latest release was long overdue.



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