Apple is rolling out a huge Apple Maps update for the three big Canadian cities – Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
Up until now, I’ve been using both Google and Apple Maps, but this update might push me to make the leap to using Apple Maps exclusively, and you might want to too, especially if you’re in one of the three above-mentioned cities.
For starters, Apple added cycling directions to Maps for users in Toronto and Vancouver last year. The feature is now landing in the hands of Montreal bicyclists, providing biking-specific data along with directions.The bicycle direction feature, which can be set as the default vehicle option, shows you elevations you might have to pedal up along the way, with a toggle to avoid hills and busy roads. Montrealers would also be greeted by suggested stops along the way. Normally, when you’re driving around in a car, suggested stops include places like gas stations, but when you’re riding around on a bicycle, the stops would include places like bicycle repair shops, washrooms, convenience stores and bicycle parking spots. It can show you if you’ll encounter stairs along the way, with recommendations to take or avoid them, depending on the time they’ll save or consume.
Additionally, the bicycle direction feature is integrated with Apple Watch, so you can ride around without having to mount or hold your phone. The bicycle direction feature was originally launched last year at WWDC in select cities and states around the world, including Arizona, Barcelona, Boston, China, Las Vegas, London, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Philadelphia, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington state, and Washington, D.C.
3D view comes to Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal
The three big cities are also now available in a three-dimensional view on Apple Maps, with rich detail and superior navigation, providing an overall more immersive experience. Apple Map’s team has been seen walking and driving around the cities on multiple occasions, with dedicated LiDar data collection equipment. This has allowed Apple to reach a high level of detail in its map layouts, with landmarks, roads, intersections all available in 3D view.
The 3D view is not limited to when you’re driving. You can walk around and receive directions in augmented reality, and according to Apple, the experience will be so accurate that if you see a tree in real life on your way, you can expect it to be shown on the map as well.
“We’re excited for Apple Maps users to explore the beauty and culture of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver in an incredibly detailed new way,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of services in a statement. “Built with privacy at its core, this update is the continuation of our commitment to building the best, most accurate map of the world —with a beautifully designed experience and attention to detail that only Apple can deliver.”
Apple Maps now also provides better navigation, with added details to guide you through crosswalks, busy intersections, turn lanes and more. Maps display a road-level view while approaching interchanges, making it easier to understand traffic conditions or the best lane to exit.
Apple says it wants to expand its 3D maps to more cities around the world, and throughout Canada, though it doesn’t have any plans to do so right now. There is no software update for the new maps, and the improved experience will roll out automatically for users throughout the day. According to an Apple spokesperson, the new maps are available to most new iPhones and iPads, along with the M1 Mac.
Image credit: Apple
Karandeep is a graduate of Durham College's Journalism and Mass Media program. He likes video games and testing out peripherals along with quirky gadgets and accessories.