9 things that blew us away at WWDC 2021

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Apple CEO Tim Cook wraps the WWDC21 keynote on June 7, 2021.
Apple CEO Tim Cook wraps the WWDC21 keynote on June 7, 2021.
Photo: Apple

Some new features really stood out when Apple revealed the next versions of all its operating systems during Monday’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote. Users of iPhone, Mac and iPad, and Apple Watch, too, can look forward to welcome improvements this fall.

We picked out the best of these to make sure they don’t get overlooked.

Apple Maps gets fancy new features for drivers, transit riders and tourists

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Certain launch cities will get highly detailed views in the iOS 15's updated Apple Maps
Certain launch cities will get highly detailed views in the iOS 15's updated Apple Maps
Photo: Apple

In iOS 15, Apple Maps will gain new features that make life easier for anybody using the app to navigate the world.

An interactive globe will give users a new way to dive into Apple Maps. Enhanced details will make driving safer and less confusing. And new features will make exploring certain cities simpler than ever.

“Our goal has always been to build the world’s best map,” said Meg Frost, product design director of Apple Maps, during Monday’s WWDC keynote. “So we looked at everything we’ve done so far and asked ourselves, ‘How can we push things even further?'”

Apple Maps’ Look Around feature expands to Atlanta

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Atlanta, GA
Fancy a trip to Atlanta?
Screenshot: Apple

Apple Maps’ “Look Around” featured now works in Atlanta, Georgia, allowing users everywhere to scope out Centennial Olympic Park or Mercedes Benz Stadium as it looks from ground level.

This marks the 29th location that Apple’s rival to Google’s Street View is available in.

iOS 14.5.1 update fixes App Tracking Transparency bug

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App Tracking Transparency is iOS 14.5's controversial new privacy-related feature.
Today's update fixes a bug that kept App Tracking Transparency from working properly for some users.
Screenshot: Apple

Apple rushed out iOS 14.5.1 on Monday, an update that fixes a bug in the App Tracking Transparency feature rolled out a week ago.

“This update fixes an issue with App Tracking Transparency where some users who previously disabled Allow Apps to Request to Track in Settings may not receive prompts from apps after re-enabling it,” Apple’s release notes said. “This update also provides important security updates and is recommended for all users.”

iPadOS 14.5.1, a version of the software for iPad users, also arrived Monday.

Apple Maps begins offering COVID-19 airport travel guidance

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Apple Maps begins offering COVID-19 airport travel guidance
Finding out the rules your local airport has in place to fight COVID-19 is as easy a checking Apple Maps.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple Maps now displays airport COVID-19 health measures data, making it easier for travelers to find airport health guidance.

With vaccinations becoming more widespread, air travel is picking up. But airports still have requirements for passengers. Finding out what they are for each airport is now as simple as opening Apple Maps.

Easily find COVID-19 vaccine locations with Apple Maps

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Apple Maps now shows COVID-19 vaccine locations.
A quick search in Apple Maps displays nearby COVID-19 vaccine sites on a map.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

An update to Apple Maps adds COVID-19 vaccination locations. Users can find nearby businesses and organizations providing the life-saving injections from the Search bar in Apple Maps by selecting COVID-19 Vaccines in the Find Nearby menu.

Apple says it doesn’t have Scott Forstall’s phone number

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Scott Forstall 2
Scott Forstall left Apple in 2012 after the Apple Maps debacle.
Photo: Philosophy Talk

It wasn’t all that long ago that Scott Forstall, Apple’s former SVP of iOS software, was being talked about as a possible CEO successor to Steve Jobs. Then came the disastrous Apple Maps launch in 2012, and Forstall’s subsequent departure from the company.

Forstall has shown up a couple of times since then, but otherwise maintained a low profile. Now, as unearthed by the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit, the Cupertino company says it doesn’t even have a current phone number for Forstall — only a Twitter account and P.O. Box reference.

Apple Maps will let drivers report accidents, speed traps and other hazards

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Apple Maps adds accident reporting in iOS 14.5
Apple Maps in iOS 14.5 will let users report hazards to fellow motorists.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple Maps will start collecting crowd-sourced accident reports when iOS 14.5 is released. The beta version already lets users test sharing the locations of accidents, speed traps and other hazards.

This is hardly cutting edge, of course. Google Waze has included the feature for years.

Today in Apple history: Apple fixes ‘life-threatening’ Maps glitch

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Australia Park
This probably isn't the spot people wanted to reach!
Photo: Papphase/Wikipedia CC

December 10: Today in Apple history: Apple fixes Australian Apple Maps glitch December 10, 2012: Apple fixes an Apple Maps error that caused several motorists in Victoria, Australia, to become stranded in the remote Murray-Sunset National Park.

The glitch showed the town of Mildura about 45 miles from its actual location. In the aftermath, Victoria police describe the app as “potentially life-threatening.” That’s pretty much the opposite of “it just works.”