In an interview with CNN, Apple execs spoke about how its navigation app, Apple Maps, got a makeover and why it is worth using over the competition. Apple Maps Product Lead David Dorn and Apple’s Director of Product Design Meg Frost explained the app’s features that were added with the iOS 15 update.
Previously, Apple Maps had users struggling with various issues, spawning a host of memes.
Using Apple Maps pic.twitter.com/dneKGzJFBX
— Emily (@Pagemaster4Life) April 27, 2021
The app sports a massive overhaul with the latest update. Apple’s lead executives highlighted navigation, appearance, and accessibility improvements with its 3D approach, replete with climate-appropriate trees and accurate road styles. Before the overhaul, Apple Maps sported a two-dimensional look. With the redesign, Apple “took the opportunity to create a realistic globe that accurately represents the sizes of countries in 3D.”
The latest update to the app features exploration and educational tasks on an iPad, which lets you explore your city with the eyes of a tourist. It allows you to capture screenshots and split the screen for a virtual tour of the city. The executives highlighted the Flyover feature that lets you get a virtual tour of select landmarks like the Freedom Tower in New York and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, reminiscent of Google Earth.
The app also has a night-time view baked into 3D, complete with lights to capture a starry night look. The new maps feature clearer details about lanes and even show road markings. It also lets you see the accurate elevation when driving through complex highways.
“At a glance, drivers can understand a complex intersection more quickly than ever before. And that detail helps with that split-second decision of which turn they’re going to make. So we want it to be both safer and visually satisfying to navigate.”
In what is reported to be a first for mainstream digital maps, Apple Maps went all out with 3D recreations to accurately capture structures in cities with its landmarks feature. “We pick the amount of detail we find appropriate and create a 3D mesh of the building landmark itself. And we apply it to the base map,” said Frost. For instance, Apple’s team captured a realistic-looking Philadelphia Museum of Art and even included the statue of Rocky at the bottom. You’ll be hard-pressed to find such details in Google Maps.
The new Apple Maps has other cool features up its sleeve. For instance, Transit lets you pin your frequented routes. You can even rate and review local retail establishments such as restaurants on the app. Another feature called Guides uses curated content developed by Apple’s editorial partners to help you discover restaurants and attractions in a city.
Additionally, the redesigned Maps app makes full use of haptics so that if you’re wearing an Apple Watch, you can know when to turn left or right (when using walking directions) without even looking at a screen. The experience also makes it easier for cyclists to navigate without taking their eyes off the road. In the US, Apple provides AR walking directions in select cities. It’s just like finding your AirTag, except Maps will lead you to your destination using arrows, distance, and direction overlaid on a feed from your camera.
The redesigned Maps app also lets you share your ETA with a contact while traveling. This feature is baked into CarPlay and can be activated using Siri commands. Your contact will be able to see your real-time location on Maps until you reach your destination.
What do you think of the latest Apple Maps? Let us know in the comments.