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Posts tagged with "Apple Maps"

Apple Services Preview: Better Integration, Increased Customization, and Sharing Options

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Apple’s services have become an increasingly important part of the company’s product lineup, but they didn’t get a lot of time at WWDC this year. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some interesting new features coming with OS releases and beyond. There are a wide variety of updates coming that promise to better integrate services, allow for greater user customization and sharing, plus provide other day-to-day enhancements.

Apple Podcasts

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Perhaps the best example of Apple’s approach to services this year is Apple Podcasts, which will add new software features and act as the glue that integrates other services. My favorite upcoming feature is Podcasts’ new queueing system. Episodes of shows can be added to a listening queue from any list of episodes by long-pressing on an episode or using the More menu and choosing ‘Add to Queue,’ which appends the episode to the bottom of your queue.

Tapping the queue button from the Now Playing screen reveals the Playing Next screen, which includes the current episode at the top, along with any upcoming episodes that you’ve queued for playback with drag handles for reordering the list. If you finish everything in your queue, Podcasts reverts to Up Next, the app’s automatically-generated list of suggested next episodes. The Playing Next screen also includes a triangular disclosure button for revealing chapter titles in podcast episodes that include them. Tapping a chapter title skips to that chapter.

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Apple Adds Live Music Features to Maps and Music

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Today, Apple has launched new Apple Maps and Music features for live music fans. Apple Maps has added more than 40 Guides highlighting over 10 venues worldwide. In addition to editorial content about the music scenes in the featured cities, users can learn more about each venue and its upcoming shows using features that the Shazam app incorporated last spring, using information from Bandsintown.

Apple Music Guides.

Apple Music Guides.

In the Music app, Apple has created a new category called Set Lists that offers information about major artists’ concerts, along with a playlist of songs they’re playing on tour. Apple’s press release says users can browse upcoming shows of the artists spotlighted in Set Lists using the same Shazam tools that power the similar Apple Maps feature too.

Set Lists. Source: Apple.

Set Lists. Source: Apple.

The new Apple Music Guides announced today include Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City, San Francisco, Berlin, London, Paris, Vienna, Tokyo, Melbourne, Sydney, and Mexico City. To view the guides, you can visit Set Lists are beginning to appear in Apple Music, too, although as of publication, I’ve only been able to locate them via search. Later, you should be able to browse all Set Lists at too.

It’s fantastic to see Apple Music and Maps expanding into live music. These sorts of features are something that Federico and I have been hoping Apple would implement for years, and I hope with time, we’ll see more guides for more cities around the world as well as a growing collection of Set Lists.

Apple Launches a New Program Allowing Business Owners to Manage Their Place Cards in Maps and Other Apps

Today, Apple introduced a new online tool called Apple Business Connect that allows businesses to customize the information listed in Apple Maps Maps, Messages, Wallet, Siri, and other apps.

According to Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services:

We created Business Connect to provide Apple users around the world with the most accurate information for places to eat, shop, travel, and more. Apple Business Connect gives every business owner the tools they need to connect with customers more directly, and take more control over the way billions of people see and engage with their products and services every day.

There are a couple of components to Apple Business Connect:

  • A free online tool where businesses can claim their place cards, which include the details about their businesses in apps like Maps, and customize how it appears
  • An API for businesses with 25 or more locations that integrates with third parties that provide location listing services

In addition to providing a self-service path for business owners, Apple has expanded the features of place cards to include Showcases that provide a way for businesses to highlight promotions, seasonal menu items, discounts, and more. Showcases are available today in the US. Apple says Showcases will roll out globally in the coming months.

To register, business owners can visit the Apple Business Connect website, which requires a desktop or laptop computer and an Apple ID. Once logged in and verified by Apple, businesses can personalize their place cards.

Currently, the data in place cards is predominantly supplied by Yelp, although TripAdvisor, Wikipedia, and other sources like users’ photos are also used. Apple Business Connect puts business owners in control, which I expect will result in more accurate and timely updates to place cards, although hopefully, Apple has put some quality-control oversight in place too. The new program also has the added benefit to Apple of cutting the cost of sourcing data from Yelp and others. Having moved recently from Chicago, where place cards were reliably up-to-date, to North Carolina, where the quality of the cards is less reliable, I’m looking forward to seeing how quickly business owners sign up to claim their locations and whether they keep the cards up-to-date.

The 2022 MacStories OS Preview Series: Maps and CarPlay

I recently moved from Illinois to North Carolina, and I don’t know the area at all. As a result, I’ve been using Maps and CarPlay a lot since I got here. The new features coming this fall to each aren’t as extensive as they’ve been in past years, but there are several small changes that represent the kind of incremental, ‘quality of life’ improvements that I expect users will appreciate.


Because so much of Apple Maps relies on methodically mapping the world bit by bit, many users are stuck waiting for Maps’ underlying data to catch up with the app’s features. The more detailed maps and 3D models of landmarks introduced last year are good examples. Both came with asterisks because they were only available in certain cities or countries at launch.

This year is a little different. Apple announced new countries and cities where you’ll find the company’s more detailed maps, 3D landmarks, and other changes, but this year, multi-stop routes and tweaks to Maps’ routing UI will be available to everyone at the same time. It’s a nice mix of brand-new features and incremental improvements that includes something for everyone.

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CNN Interviews Apple Maps’ Product and Design Leads

Jacob Krol, writing for CNN, interviewed Apple Maps’ David Dorn, its product lead, and Meg Frost, its design lead, about the app’s steady improvements since its introduction in 2012. The story covers many of the features added in the fall with the release of Apple’s latest OS updates, which we’ve covered before, but adds the context of what Dorn and Frost’s teams were trying to accomplish with the changes. For example, with respect to complex roadways the updates have meant that:

“At a glance, drivers can understand a complex intersection more quickly than ever before,” said Frost. “And that detail helps with that split-second decision of which turn they’re going to make. So we want it to be both safer and visually satisfying to navigate.”

It was also interesting to learn that each of the 3D elements added to a handful of cities, and have begun to expand to new locales, are handmade by Apple’s designers:

“We pick the amount of detail we find appropriate and create a 3D mesh of the building landmark itself. And we apply it to the base map,” explained Frost.

In the past couple of years, Apple Maps has really hit its stride, at least in the places that I’ve used it. Maps are more detailed, I’ve encountered far fewer errors than in the past, and the experience of using the app with CarPlay is excellent. Although it’s nearly 10 years old now, Apple Maps still feels new to me because of the relentless iteration on the original app. By its nature, Maps demands constant attention, but it also shows how a competitive app category goes a long way toward keeping an app fresh and innovative.


Mapper Safari Extension Automatically Redirects Google Maps Links to Apple Maps

All of these place links get redirected to Apple Maps with Mapper.

All of these place links get redirected to Apple Maps with Mapper.

Ever since Apple rolled out the redesigned and improved Apple Maps in Italy last month, I’ve been increasingly switching my usage of maps for exploration and turn-by-turn directions from Google to Apple Maps. I prefer Apple’s overall design sensibilities, I find Look Around drastically superior to Google Street View, and the integration with Apple Maps and the Lock Screen for turn-by-turn navigation is excellent.

However, I still have to keep Google Maps installed on my iPhone for all those times when a particular point of interest (usually a shop or restaurant) isn’t showing up in Apple Maps’ search results. And because the Google Maps app is still installed on my iPhone, every time I tap a search result with an address from Google search, it automatically redirects to Google Maps. I’ve always found this annoying, but now even more so since I consider Apple Maps my primary navigation app here in Rome.1 Now, thanks to a Safari extension, that Google Maps redirect nightmare is finally over.

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Apple Maps for iOS and iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey: The MacStories Overview

Maps is unique among Apple system apps. Most system apps, like Notes or Reminders, are only updated at the same time that major revisions of the company’s underlying operating systems are released. Tweaks are sometimes made with OS point releases but never separate from the OS updates themselves.

Maps is different because so much of the experience is tied to the data that the app delivers. That allows Apple to add mid-cycle updates that aren’t tied to an OS release. There are many recent examples, like the addition of COVID-19 travel guidance for airports, vaccination site locations, and places offering volunteer opportunities. At the same time, the company continues to expand and enhance the accuracy and detail offered by Maps at a deeper level with its ongoing initiative to rebuild the app’s underlying maps worldwide.

Apple has been at it, improving Maps since iOS 6, and it’s a task that by definition will never truly be finished. However, the introduction of new features in recent years and broader expansion of its effort to deliver rebuilt maps to more of the world has allowed Apple to refine the app across the board. Using the latest map data the company has collected has enabled it to redesign the Maps experience, providing more relevant information to users, and expanding its view of the world around us.

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