Apple, on Thursday, announced a major update to its Maps application that comes pre-installed on iPhones and other iOS devices. The company issued a press release detailing the significant changes that this update brings to the table. According to Apple, most of the new changes are aimed at improving the overall Apple Maps user experience.
Among the changes to Apple Maps include better details of roads, buildings, and famous landmarks. It is also claimed that the new app is faster than the previous version and provides a more accurate navigation experience. Another key feature that has been introduced is something known as real-time transit schedules. Using this feature, users can see the exact location of trains and buses. Note that the real-time transit feature is only available in the following cities: San Francisco Bay Area, Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles, and Miami.
Apple has also added a new feature called Look Around, which seems to be the company's implementation of Google's StreetView feature. Using Look Around, Apple says users can access high-resolution street-level imagery in 3D. Cities where people can use the Look Around feature include New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Houston, and Oahu. Apple has confirmed that it will add more cities to this list in the future.
Share ETA is another new feature that users will be able to use once they update Apple Maps to this new version. This feature lets users share the estimated time of arrival with their family and friends. This feature can also be set to send a notification to their trusted contacts in the event of a significant change in the ETA.
Siri for Apple Maps also sees an upgrade with the latest version of the app. Apple has confirmed that they now use an enhanced implementation of the Siri Natural Language Guidance, which results in better, more natural-sounding direction.
Targeted primarily at frequent travelers, Apple has come up with another feature called Flight Status, which uses on-device data to scan information stored in the users' email and calendar apps. It uses this data to serve users with updated flight information well in advance, proactively. It will also warn fliers about possible delays. In some airports, users can use the feature to get updated information about the terminal and boarding gates.
Apple confirmed that the rollout of the new software is complete across the U.S. and that they expect to roll out the same experience to its European users in the next few months. The company did not indicate a clear timeline for the deployment of the improved Apple Maps software for other markets.
The news of the launch of the redesigned Apple Maps software comes less than a week after an App Store outage left millions of people unable to download apps or make purchases.