New view, new features
Apple is pimping its map app – and even overtaking Google Maps in some cases
Apple’s Maps app has come a long way since its rocky start. As of today, German users are also offered the latest functions. They include a feature that the big top dog Google Maps does not yet offer in this country.
Strange kinks in the optics, dubious route tips and a lot of wrong information: When Apple’s maps app was launched in 2012, the iPhone company, otherwise spoiled by success, had to contend with a number of large and small problems and was accordingly showered with malice. But the Maps app has changed a lot since then. The biggest update of recent times is now also available in Germany.
With the far-reaching revision, Apple has taken the biggest step so far for its map app. The innovations were actually introduced with iOS 15, which was released in autumn (here you can find out which hidden new functions you should definitely know about). So far, however, only a few selected countries such as the USA and Canada have benefited from this. From today, Germany is also among the supported countries. German users don’t have to download anything: if you open the map app today, you’ll see the revised version straight away.
Apple Maps: Finally know where to go
It is immediately obvious that something has happened. So far, the German maps have been reminiscent of pale folding maps, but with the update they now appear visibly more modern in several respects. Cities in particular benefit immensely: houses and streets stand out from the ground as 3D objects, green and water areas stand out clearly in terms of colour, differences in height are made plastically visible. This makes the map livelier. With hand-built and detailed 3D models, sights stand out even more. There is also a big innovation when zooming out: Instead of a flat view of the world, Maps now shows a 3D animated globe in the highest zoom level.
The most important feature of the maps app is of course the support when driving or walking. And here, too, there are tons of new functions. One of the most exciting: Apple finally offers a permanent display of the currently permitted speed. And is even a step ahead of the industry leader. Google Maps also offers this option in some countries, but it is still missing in Germany. This is a clear plus for Apple’s service, especially given the increased penalties for speeding this year.
Find the way more naturally
The navigation itself has also changed. Apple uses a “more natural language” to announce the navigation instructions. In concrete terms, this means that Apple relies less on pure distance information and instead prefers clearer announcements, as you would give them as a passenger. Instead of bluntly asking to turn left after 300 meters – after all, who is sure how long exactly 300 meters is – easy-to-understand references such as the next intersection with a traffic light, the third street that branches off or the like are given. The navigation should feel more intuitive and be easier to understand.
If you are on foot, you have even more options. With the new “Look Around” mode, the map app offers the option of looking closely at the buildings, as with Google Street View, in order to better orient yourself. Initially, the function is only available in Munich, but other cities are to follow soon. In Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne there is already an even more practical orientation aid: If you capture the surrounding buildings with the camera, the map app shows you with an arrow over it where you have to turn. This option, introduced by Google three years ago, should become highly relevant at the latest when Apple introduces its augmented reality glasses, which have been rumored for years.
Apple’s maps app: many innovations in detail
Many other improvements can be found in the details. You can now let Siri know live what’s causing the current traffic jam with the message “There’s an accident ahead”. In the public transport view, commuters have an overview of the next routes and departures. Passengers can use indoor navigation to help them through confusing corridors to the gate. If the flight data and tickets are stored in the iPhone, the device even offers this proactively. And: Finally, certain locations can be pinned as favorites or shared with other map users with just a few taps.