This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
Apple has delivered a major update to the Maps app's features for Japan. The map display is now sharper, there are more custom icons for landmarks, and the Look Around feature, which was previously available in some countries, is now available.
Gallery: Apple マップ 大幅アップデート | of 5 Photos
The map display has been refined
The first topic is that some maps will now be displayed in more detail than before. The display of Land Cover which removes buildings and other features from the map, as well as pedestrian paths, has been improved. This is expected to make it possible to provide more accurate route guidance when walking along sidewalks in parks and public facilities. For example, if you check the map of Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, the sidewalks are now clearly marked in white, and if you look closely, the size of the paths have changed. Areas with forests and lawns are now shown in shades of green.
Shinjuku Gyoen as previously displayed (left) and after the update (right)
You can see that the new structure of the roadway is clearly reflected in the Yokohama-Aoba Interchange of the Tomei Expressway. If you zoom in, even the toll booths are now more detailed.
Yokohama-Aoba Interchange on the Tomei Expressway as previously display (left) and after the update (right)
The 3D display has also been improved. Check out the new National Stadium and urban skyscrapers from various angles.
Richer icon display
The second topic is the increased number of custom icon displays. There have been some facilities that have been displayed with custom icons in the past, such as landmarks at tourist attractions, but the number of these displays has increased dramatically in this update. In Tokyo, if you search for Tokyo Sky Tree, Tokyo Station, Tokyo Big Sight, etc., you'll find that they all have custom icons.
The areas circled in red are examples of landmarks displayed with custom icons.
Look Around is now available in Japan
Thirdly, the Look Around feature, which allows you to check the actual footage of a location displayed on the map, is now available in Japan. For starters, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, and other metropolitan areas are now supported.
As you zoom in on the map, tap on the binoculars icon that appears on the screen. The Look Around image will appear at the top of the screen. As for the controls, you can tap to move forward and swipe to change the direction of your view.
Tap the binoculars icon that appears in the zoomed-in map (left) to switch to the Look Around view, with the binoculars at the assumed position on the map and the local image at the top of the screen.
For example, you can try going through the bamboo forest in Arashiyama, Kyoto, or crossing the Kamo River Delta stepping stones to the other side of the river.
iOS 14 update coming this fall
The iOS 14 update, which will be available in the fall, will bring a number of new features, including curated guide features, bicycle route guidance, and electric car route guidance. However, many of these features are only available in a few countries and areas, and many of them are not yet available in Japan - which is still a long way off. To get started, let's take a look at the updated map display and look-around features.
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.