New Apple Maps Features Beat Google? – While Apple Maps started in 2012, it was heavily criticized for not having the accuracy people had come to expect from Google Maps. Over time, Apple has continuously iterated and improved the Maps app. But now, after more than four million miles of driving around the country. Apple has a whole new map that’s far more informative and offers a much more realistic view. In this article, I give you a look at the brand new features in Apple Maps and show you why if you use an iPhone, then Apple Maps is the way to go.
And as I mentioned today, we are talking about Apple Maps, the history of Apple Maps, the improvements made over time to Apple Maps, and the all-new map that Apple is rolling out all across the United States right now, and across the world next year. Now you may not have been paying attention back in 2012. But the launch of Apple Maps alongside iOS 6 was pretty rough. iOS had been shipping with Google Maps as a default map app built into iOS.
But with the release of iOS 6, Apple made a switch to its own internal Maps app. First impressions weren’t great, and the result was an apology from Tim Cook. And Apple went to work on making Maps a better experience. Now over the years, we’ve seen many improvements to the Maps app year over year. Driving directions got better, transit directions were added, business info, parking data, the flyover feature from significant landmarks. And even flyover tours over major cities. Apple has definitely improved the Map app over the past six and seven years. But in the background for the past four years, Apple has been rebuilding the Map from the ground up.
As I mentioned earlier, four million miles of driving all over the country to completely replace the map data without a full complete overhaul. Now San Francisco in the Bay Area got the newer Map roughly a year ago with iOS 12, and since then, it’s been rolling out all across the country. And a couple weeks ago, Apple let me know that the biggest Maps rollout was about to take place. And it was going to include the United States area of the Pacific Northwest, which is where I live here in Seattle.
So I’ve been using the new Maps now for about two weeks. And it’s very obvious when compared to what we had previously that Apple definitely has an absolute winner on its hands. Now before we talk about what’s new, let’s talk about how Apple treats privacy as it pertains to maps. When you ask for directions, Apple doesn’t know where you’re leaving from, where you’re going, or even the route you take. In fact, you don’t even need to be signed in to Apple ID to use the Maps app at all. And the reason for that is that nothing gets tied to your Apple ID when you use Maps.
Apple also doesn’t put advertising in Maps. So there are no ad identifiers in there either. And any Siri requests that you make to the Maps app, gets handled on the device itself. And it’s never sent to or come back from Apple’s Cloud. Now that part isn’t new, but it’s still good to know before using the Maps app. that anything you do in that app stays private.
Now what is new just by opening the Maps app and looking at it is that you’re getting a more accurate view of the world around you. You’ll see bodies of water, sporting areas, parts of vegetation, and even swimming pools. If you look at a golf course, you’re going to see the sand traps and the water hazards.
Now, this is all thanks to the new computer vision and satellite imagery technology that Apple’s been using. And one cool thing going back to privacy for a second. When you zoom in on Maps, you see people and cars. What you’re not going to see are the faces of the people or the license plates of the vehicles. Now Apple also wanted to make maps more usable for real-world scenarios, just a little easier to get around. And one example of this is the fact that they’ve licensed the different typefaces to match up with major public transit systems.
So, for example, they’ve licensed the Helvetica font, which is what’s used in the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority. So the trains in New York City. If you look at the signage that you see in the real world on the subway in New York. It matches up exactly with what Apple puts into the Map app. So typefaces and fonts look exactly the same. So it’s much easier to get around when you can just look at your phone. Look up and see that’s an exact match, you know where to go. Now, in addition to the new map itself, Apple has also built in a bunch of extra cool features into the Maps app in iOS 13.
Now let’s get back into the improvements and usability features that Apple has added to the Maps app. Starting with improved turn-by-turn directions. When using turn-by-turn directions, Maps will factor in real-time traffic information, including your current speed limit. So you’ll know exactly how long it’ll take you to arrive. It will also now say things like turn right at the next stoplight rather than turn right in 1,000 feet. And it’ll tell you which lane you need to be in when you need to make a turn or take an exit. And now Maps will also guide you even more precisely than it used to. This is actually something that Apple seems to be doing better than anyone else right now.
Let’s say you wanna go to a store that is in a shopping mall. Well, shopping malls have a bunch of different entrances and exits. A bunch of different parking spaces instead of directing you to the mall itself. Apple will actually direct you to the nearest entrance to the store that you wanna go to that’s in the mall. This way, when you park your car, you’re right near your destination. And when you get out of the vehicle, Maps will drop a pin. So that if you have a hard time finding where you parked later, you can just ask Siri. Apple has also added the ability to share your ETA, estimated time of arrival.
If you’re joining up by a group of people, you can share the ETA with them. Which will update in real-time and let them know if you’re significantly delayed for any reason. There was also real-time transit information. So not general transit information but real-time to keep you alerted as to what’s going on as you’re commuting. Real-time transit info lets you see detailed transit schedules, live departure and arrival times. Real-time outage and delay info and even the location of your bus or train in supported areas.
Now Maps isn’t just for outdoors anymore; Apple also has built some indoor maps as well to help you get around in big areas like airports and shopping centers. This way, you can find out which restaurants are nearest to you, where the restrooms are. And what floor your favorite store is on. Now there’s also a new feature called Look Around, and this one is very impressive. In fact, I personally think that Apple leapfrogged over Google with this one. When you compare it to Google Street View.
In select cities, you can access the Look Around feature. And it lets you explore cities in a 360-degree environment with transitions that are smooth and seamless if you wanna go down the street. If you see something of interest, you can just tap on a location to get more information. And as I mentioned earlier, this is where you’ll see cars and people on the streets. But you’re not gonna see people’s faces, or the license plates of the vehicles due to Apple’s commitment to privacy.
Oh, also a typical Apple fashion when using the Look Around feature regardless of what city you’re using it in. It’s always going to be a beautiful, bright, sunny day. Now the new Apple Maps also has a couple of new ways to keep places right at your fingertips. In fact, Maps support saving locations as favorites. Giving you quick access to places you regularly visit like home, work, specific restaurants or grocery stores, or your kid’s school. This gives you one-tap quick access to directions right from the Maps app or your CarPlay dashboard.
Siri’s suggestions display a list of places you’re most likely to go to. If you have an upcoming appointment with an address in your calendar, it’ll pop up. Or, if you have a flight schedule, you can get directions to the airport and information about your terminal. The gate you need to get to, and the time of your flight. There’s also a new collections feature that lets you build out lists of locations into groups. For example, if planning a vacation. You can create a collection called New York and save all the places that you wanna go to in New York into a collection. Or alternatively, you might wanna create the best pizza places in the US group and add all the different pizza places in the country that you wanna visit while traveling. Even cooler, collections are actually shareable.
So as you can see, Apple Maps is getting the long-awaited attention that it deserved. And by taking ownership of the Maps data fully. Apple is committing itself to actually creating the map that its users expect from them at the beginning. The argument has been made by many, but it’s worth repeating that if Apple thinks that Maps are important enough to own. Then it should do everything it could to own them. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing here with the new Maps app and the new maps data found within. Now let me know what you think. Are you an Apple Maps user?