Apple Maps Imagery Adds Washington’s Black Lives Matter Street Mural in Its Fastest Update Ever

Apple Maps Black Lives Matter on iPad Credit: Jesse Hollington
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In one of the fastest and most timely updates to Apple Maps that we’ve ever seen, it would appear that Apple has already posted new satellite imagery of Washington, D.C. to reflect the Black Live Matter mural that has been painted along a street adjacent to the White House.

As the Washington Post reported, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser officially renamed the section of 16th street that approaches the White House to “Black Lives Matter Plaza” on Friday and had the slogan painted on the road in massive yellow letters, creating a significant new landmark in the Nation’s capital.

In a tribute to recognize the Black Lives Matter movement, Apple clearly pulled out all of the stops to add new satellite imagery to Apple Maps to ensure that the message would appear as quickly as possible — check out this Apple Maps link to see it for yourself.

Apple also updated the street name of course, but that’s a relatively minor feat compared to pushing in new satellite imagery in less than 48 hours, and in fact, despite many people’s longstanding complaints about the timeliness of Apple Maps compared to Google Maps, in this case Apple has completely beaten Google to the punch.

As of this writing, not only does Google Maps not include the new imagery, but the street on Google Maps isn’t yet clearly labelled under its new name of Black Lives Matter Plaza — the new name only consistently appears at the very closest zoom levels, while on Apple Maps it’s conspicuously visible even at a radius of several blocks.

As app researcher Jane Manchun Wong points out it appears that Apple only patched the very specific part of the satellite imagery that would have included the street name, however that isn’t really surprising considering how fast Apple moved in getting this update live.

In fact considering the complexity of getting rapid updates to satellite imagery, it’s much more likely that the image was composited from aerial photography rather than downloaded from actual satellites, but the end result is ultimately the same either way, with Apple Maps now offering a significant and visible show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Siri Adds Its Voice Too

As 9to5Mac discovered this morning, it looks like Apple has also quietly updated Siri to provide more appropriate and detailed responses to questions related to the movement and the ongoing protests.

Specifically, when Siri is asked the question “Do all lives matter?” she’ll now respond with a statement that it “does not represent the same concerns” along with a button to allow the user to open directly from the Siri response screen.

‘All Lives Matter’ is often used in response to the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter,’ but it does not represent the same concerns.

In this case, however, some feel that Google Assistant provides a much more appropriate response by explaining what “Black Lives Matter” means, although one could argue that it’s not directly answering the question that’s been put to it.

Saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ doesn’t mean that all lives don’t. It means Black lives are at risk in ways others are not.

“All lives matter” is one of those statements that, while factually true, is used by many who miss the point of what the “Black Lives Matter” movement is actually trying to say, and in that respect, Google does a much better job of getting to the point.

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