Apple debuts redesigned Maps with major U.S. improvements

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Apple-Maps-Jan-20-update
It offers more detail and Apple's answer to Street View.
Photo: Apple

Apple today rolled out its major Maps redesign to all users in the United States. It packs big improvements, including better road and pedestrian data, more precise addresses, and more detailed land coverage. It also offers Look Around, Apple’s answer to Google Maps’ Street View, in select locations.

“We set out to create the best and most private maps app on the planet that is reflective of how people explore the world today,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, in a statement today. “It is an effort we are deeply invested in and required that we rebuild the map from the ground up to reimagine how Maps enhances people’s lives — from navigating to work or school or planning an important vacation — all with privacy at its core. The completion of the new map in the United States and delivering new features like Look Around and Collections are important steps in bringing that vision to life.”

Apple Maps: Truly new and improved

We’re all familiar with the story behind Apple Maps, and how its disastrous launch led to the departure of former iOS chief Scott Forstall. We don’t need to dwell on that anymore. Today, Maps is better than ever — especially for those in the United States, where the latest upgrades are now available.

The overhaul promises faster and more accurate navigation, and a more comprehensive view of roads, buildings, parks, malls and more. The new Apple Maps offer significantly more detail, making it far easier to locate addresses and places of interest. You also can add places to your Favorites for one-tap turn-by-turn directions when you need them.

Apple Maps Favorites and Collections are new in this update
Favorites and Collections are new to Maps in this update.
Photo: Apple

What’s more, U.S. users can now build lists of their favorite places — like restaurants, bars and theaters — and share them with others using the new Collections feature. This is a great way to provide friends with instant access to the best places to eat nearby, or for keeping track of a list of places you want to visit when you get the chance.

And there’s even more

This update also introduces Look Around, Apple’s answer to Street View. It offers interactive street-level imagery with high-resolution, 3D photography that lets you walk around and explore some of the biggest U.S. cities without actually being there. The only downside? It’s only available in the following six locations:

  • New York City
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Los Angeles
  • Las Vegas
  • Houston
  • Oahu, Hawaii

Apple says it will add more locations to Look Around later.

The updated Apple Maps still includes the features we already know and love, like real-time transit information, the ability to share an estimated time of arrival, and indoor maps for airports and malls. It even lets you keep track of flight statuses.

It also uses Siri to provide you with more natural turn-by-turn directions. For instance, instead of hearing things like, “Turn right in 300 yards,” the new Apple Maps will say things like, “Go straight through this light and turn right at the next stop sign.”

Apple Maps Look Around  is a beauty
Look Around is a beauty.
Photo: Apple

Some of the newest features started rolling out in select locations with iOS 13 late last year. Now they’re available to everyone in the United States. Apple says the improvements will eventually make their way to the rest of the world, starting with Europe “later this year.”