This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
Apple has announced a major update to its Maps app (and the map service behind it). It was revealed that Japan (partly due to the planned Tokyo Olympics) will be the second highest priority after its home base in the U.S., ahead of other countries, and will be the first to adapt to the new map data and features.
Map apps have many rivals in Japan, including Google as well as Yahoo! But over the past few years, Apple has made intensive enhancements. One reason is that the Maps app, which deals with location data and travel routes, is a massive piece of privacy.
Apple has made a strong case for privacy protection everywhere, but especially in maps. In other words, one of the advantages of the iPhone is that the quality of its Maps app and services must be high in order to make location, routing, and other privacy appeals to people to use it.
New Maps App Now Available for Mac
The map apps that will be updated this year will naturally be enhanced with map data provided in the cloud. The quality of the cloud side will not improve all at once, but rather will be updated regionally, so just because a map app is updated doesn't mean that all the features will be immediately available.
That said, if the app doesn't have all the features, you won't get the same experience when the cloud is updated. At the risk of sounding like a roundabout way of writing, the macOS Big Sur, due to be released this fall, will come standard with a new maps app using Mac Catalyst to improve compatibility with iOS / iPadOS apps.
This means that the Maps app will be available on the Mac with the same functionality as the iOS version. The Maps app is also available on macOS Catalina, but its functionality is the same as the iOS version It is not. Apple has developed the Maps app to work on macOS, so all the new features of the Maps app announced at WWDC 2020 will now be available on the Mac.
On top of that, you can open multiple windows like a Mac and handle multiple different maps at the same time It will be. Whenever I say, "The map app will be better," one of the things that always comes up is, "What about Japan? That's what we're talking about.
At least "charging port support" will be introduced in Japan, and more
At WWDC last year (2019), Apple said that it was focusing on improving the quality of map data to enhance the map experience in Japan, partly because of the Tokyo Olympics the following year (2020). It's a constant process of improving map data, so it's not necessarily a case of "when will it be like this?", but it seems that the focus on updating map data for Japan remains the same today.
The "lookaround" mentioned in the keynote speech at WWDC 2020 - a function that allows you to use images and 3D data from major cities to navigate around major locations in 3D animation - was not mentioned at the event regarding support for Japan, and I was concerned, but this fall, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya will begin to support it.
Moreover, while the original Lookaround was a car-based guide to the city, in Japan there are many places that can be explored on foot, and since most sightseeing in Japan is done on public transportation and on foot, it has been adjusted to allow users to explore and see the city on foot.
For example, on a visit to Sensoji Temple, you might go under the Kaminarimon and then walk down Nakamise Street to Sensoji Temple, and then... It can guide you through places that are not accessible to cars. Even in Kyoto, there are many walking look-arounds available for Japan, such as the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine and the torii gate, and the bamboo forest path in Arashiyama.
Meanwhile, a route finding feature that takes into account charging ports for electric vehicles is also sure to be introduced to Japan at launch in the fall. The new maps app will also update the 3D data of buildings and landmarks that will be recorded on three floors to more detailed modeling. Since this is a cloud-side update, the new high-definition data will also be available in the iOS 13 map app. If you look at the 3D maps of Tokyo Tower, Akasaka Gosho, Shinjuku and Otemachi, you can see that the shapes of the buildings are represented in great detail (the map data accessible from the current beta version is for iOS 13, so it hasn't changed from before).
From a simple map app to a platform based on map data
Aside from the aforementioned, there's no way to know for sure what services will be available in Japan when the official version is available in the fall, but we're not looking backwards, and we're still working on the features "when" they will be available in Japan. But that's not a backward step, because it's hard to say "when" features will be available in the ongoing work. In that sense, the good news is that both iOS 13 and iOS 14 will bring more data detail to the Maps app.
On the other hand, we have some disappointing news. There will be no navigation system for cycling in Japan this fall It is. Cycling data will be available in the United States in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area, as well as in Shanghai and Beijing, China, but not across the United States.
If you actually search for a cycling navigation guide, you can imagine that it's not a simple matter to compile the data, as it details the availability of bike lanes, indications of high traffic arterial roads, places where you have to avoid arterial roads, carry stairs, or walk to get through, as well as information on elevation changes.
Also, although not mentioned in the keynote, cyclists will be directed to the location of public restrooms and bike repair shops close to the route so that they can get directions to parking lots and gas stations when traveling by car. For the aforementioned EV port locations and routes to consider, the system will work with the EV-enabled app, and while it knows the current remaining capacity and other information, it will also work with you to tell you the route, charging ports, fees for charging, and time. The same is true for cycling routes, but it looks like the plan is to not just provide a map, but to add on various slices of service based on the terrain and point information as a platform.
Urgent information and additional features in response to social conditions
The new coronavirus must have had an impact on these map updates and app development. However, there have been few delays in development; rather, improvements have been made in the U.S. to make Apple's maps available as a tool for gathering information on the spread of the disease.
The ability to trace the route of infection is being made available in a series of apps from health authorities in various countries. In the U.S., where Apple is headquartered, additional navigation features have been added, such as the ability to visualize infected hotspots and direct users to medical facilities for PCR testing, as well as the ability to collaborate with the government to use movement data, route and location information, such as the movement of people in infected hotspots. The idea is to prevent infection through behavioral navigation.
Each data is anonymized and aggregated (i.e., compiled as crowd movement data rather than individual movements). It's being used to make it impossible to identify individuals and is being used to fight infection on the front lines. Until now, Apple has been trailing Google in mapping services and apps . The other party is never standing still either, so Apple's service is the iOS 14 version of It remains to be seen whether it will be able to overtake the map app of the company, as well as its ease of use. Either way, it seems to be trying to create value differently from its rivals with a range of features, ideas and good implementation.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.