It was clear during WWDC that Apple is forging ahead with its Maps app at full-speed. Not only were several interesting refinements to the app and its underlying data announced during the conference keynote and sessions, but Apple continues to improve the functionality of its maps throughout the year, adding its Look Around feature to Seattle, Washington today.
Look Around was the marquee addition to Maps in iOS 13. The feature, which competes with Google Street View, provides a 3D representation of the world from a car’s vantage point. When you zoom far enough into an area that supports Look Around, an icon of a pair of binoculars appears in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Tapping it opens a separate overlay that you can pan around by swiping and move through by tapping along streets. The animations are smooth and the images high-resolution, making Look Around a terrific way to explore an unfamiliar area before visiting.
Seattle joins ten other US cities as the eleventh area to add the Look Around feature. The last city added was Chicago and parts of its suburbs, which were added in April.
At WWDC, Apple announced that Apple is updating its map data in Ireland, the UK, and Canada later this year. With the US map data updated, I’m glad to see Apple moving forward in other countries. I expect that before long, we’ll see other countries add the new map data too.
Also, I hope that the addition of Look Around in Seattle marks an acceleration of that feature. It’s a fantastic resource in the 11 major urban areas it covers. Still, I’d love to see Look Around expand to smaller cities and public spaces over time, making it useful to a broader cross-section of the world’s population.