Apple has introduced one of the biggest updates in the chequered history of its mapping service at its World Wide Developer Conference with iOS 15.
At its annual World Wide Developer Conference, Apple has announced a major update to Apple Maps which is a part of the overall update to iOS 15. Apple is introducing an all-new city experience that will allow users to explore cities with unprecedented detail for roads, neighbourhoods, trees, buildings and many more things. The unprecedented bit should be taken with a pinch of salt considering Apple Maps are still not nearly as ubiquitous or feature-rich as Google Maps on a global scale, but this is yet another update in the right direction. But Apple is adding maps that render complex interchanges in 3D space.
Apple has added a new driving mode which offers users road detail like turn lanes, crosswalks and bike lanes with street-level perspectives as you approach complex intersections. The new dedicated driving map also allows users to map out current incidents and traffic conditions at a glance. Apple is also adding 3D landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and will also feature a new daytime and dark mode map with a new moonlit glow mode. All these features are also coming to CarPlay, Apple’s phone beaming feature for automobiles.
The integrated Apple Maps app is also getting better for people using it just walking, as it flexes Apple’s muscle in augmented reality. This entails allowing the user to scan the surroundings with the iPhone camera that will allow for more detailed and precise direction information with a user interface similar to the one Apple recently deployed for tracking items that were pinned with AirTags. Compared to what Google has been doing with Live View AR, this is a competitive new addition. This feature will come to select cities – London, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington DC by the end of 2021.
There is also a new public transit integration that shows nearby stations, transit times, and even lets users pin favourite routes to the top. Using the Apple Watch, with the new watchOS 8 update users can also pin the favourite lines to the top without the need to pull out the iPhone. These updated maps will follow your transit route and notify you when it is time to disembark mimicking third-party apps like CityMapper.
In addition to this, building upon the CarKey feature that was launched at WWDC 2020 in partnership with BMW, Apple says that this year using ultra-wideband technology users will be able to unlock and start their cars without removing the iPhone from their pocket.