Earlier this summer, Apple announced a number of changes to its Maps app as part of the upcoming iOS 13 update. Now that the new operating system is finally available, the technology giant is beginning to progressively implement these changes in the US. It started with California and Texas and since this week includes the Northeastern United States.
Some of the new features are similar to what Google Maps offers, while others lag behind. For example, Apple Maps offers detailed driving directions in just 10 cities, which is incredibly useful, but fades compared to Google, which has directions in thousands of cities around the world. There's a new feature called "Look Around" that lets you guess ̵
With another new feature, you can share your real-time ETA with friends. And it's now easier to group favorite places and frequently visited places. Privacy also comes first: Apple used machine learning to blur the faces of passers-by and license plates, and even their reflections.
However, let's put aside the obvious comparisons and talk about aesthetics. The new Apple Maps just looks a lot better. The first thing you notice is the green. The previously dim beige appearance has been replaced by a topographically and ecologically more accurate map. Buildings have more depth and detail, and the images in the Look Around feature are crisp, high-resolution and look much more lifelike.
Apple released its Maps app for the first time in September 2012 as a replacement for Google-supplied cards that have been standard on the iPhone since their debut in 2007. However, problems arose almost immediately, and many users quickly realized that Apple Maps lacked much of the details of Google Maps. The transit directions were incomplete, landmarks were incorrectly labeled, and the app's overflight function displayed images that were heavily distorted. At least one manager was fired in the midst of the botched rollout.
The big redesign began in 2018 when Apple released an updated, data-rich portion of its iOS 12 maps. The maps look much better, but covered only 3.1 percent of the US focused on Northern California. (Vegetation was also touted as a highlight last year.)
With iOS 13, Apple continues to atone for earlier mistakes by reinvesting in the infrastructure required for exceptional mapping service. Apple used hundreds of cars and planes with cameras and LIDAR sensors to collect data, drive 4 million miles and add hundreds more every day.
In particular, aerial imagery has been useful in restoring the app's previously malfunctioning "overflight" feature, which allows the most important bird's eye view to be viewed in the AR style. Apple hopes to bring flyover to 350 cities around the world.
Real-time transit information is a nice addition, including departure times, cancellations and cancellations for public transportation systems like MTA, Amtrak, ferries and more in New York. However, Apple needs to increase its transit integration to stay competitive. This not only applies to Google, but also to Uber and Lyft, who have made great strides in recent months to include transit details in their respective apps.
Apple Maps will now give sounding instructions thanks to Siri. Instead of saying, "Turn left at 1,000 feet," says Siri, "turn left at the next set of traffic lights." These new natural language instructions will be available in New York City from September 30. Indoor maps for 500 airports and shopping malls are also available.
It's still at the beginning of Apple Maps, but the product certainly looks much better. Of course, if Apple wants to persuade users to switch from Google or Waze, it just has to increase the pace and finish mapping the rest of the world. Then we have a real card fight in stock.