Apple Maps refresh: Better data, more detail and a new ‘street view’

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New basemap data and 3D imagery power new ‘Look Around’ feature.

Several of the updates in iOS 13, announced yesterday, are playing catch-up to Google. Among them, Apple is adding a Street-View-like feature to Apple Maps.

Apple “Street View”: Look Around. Users will soon be able to pick a map location and launch a 360-degree photographic view of the immediate area. Apple is calling it “Look Around.”

Powering Look Around is a rebuilt basemap “from the ground up.” Apple says this is the result of 4 million miles of new data, which will deliver “broader road coverage, better pedestrian data, more precise addresses and more detailed landcover.”

Range of additional features. Other new iOS 13 maps features include, “Collections to easily share favorite restaurants, travel destinations or places to shop with friends, and Favorites for navigating to frequent destinations, such as home, work, the gym or school, with a simple tap from the launch screen.”

Some of these are rolling out now. Look Around will show up in iOS 13 later this fall in the U.S. and unspecified other countries.

Will it matter? There’s little concrete data Apple has exposed about Maps’ usage and engagement. Clearly, Apple Maps and navigation have many millions of users. But it’s also clear that the combination of Google Maps and Google-owned Waze dominate smartphone maps mindshare. At the margins, Apple Maps improvements may win back some number of users.

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