Apple Maps expands Look Around coverage to a country outside U.S. for the first time

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Look Around
At a time when travel is difficult, this may legitimately be your best way to look around Japan.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple Maps’ Look Around feature, the company’s answer to Google Street View, has expanded to its first international market. Look Around is now available for four of Japan’s biggest cities — including Tokyo, Kyoto, Nagoya, and Osaka.

As with Street View, Look Around allows you to zoom in on a particular part of a map on Apple Maps and then, well, look around it with 360-degree photographs. To enter Look Around mode, simply find an area on the map and then tap the binoculars icon. When you do, the binocular icon will appear on the map overlay, showing which way you’re looking. By rotating this icon you can change the direction you’re looking in.

Prior to this new coverage of Japan, Look Around was only available in the United States. Previously supported cities include San Francisco, Las Vegas, Honolulu and Oahu, New York City, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Chicago.

Apple’s choice of foreign market to expand to first is certainly interesting — and in keeping with Apple tradition. Back in 2003, Japan was selected as the first country outside of the U.S. to receive an Apple Store. A big reason for this was then-CEO Steve Jobs’ love of the country. Jobs had a lifelong affection for Japan, and visited often.

Could such a thing still dictate the order Apple rolls out its services these days? While gaining the necessary permits for its 360-photographing cars is surely part of the decision here, stranger things have certainly happened.