‘Look Around’ Comes to New York City and L.A. as Improved Maps Roll Out Across Northeast U.S.

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One of the coolest new features in iOS 13 that many people probably don’t have everyday access to yet is Look Around, Apple’s new “street view” feature. While Look Around promises to be a great improvement that will seriously close the gap with its rival Google Maps, at launch it was limited to very few places — so few, in fact, that Apple hasn’t even yet mentioned the new features on its iOS Feature Availability page.

At launch, Look Around was limited to the San Francisco Bay Area of California, along with Las Vegas and some parts of Hawaii. Of course, Apple naturally wants to get as many locations on board as quickly as possible, and it seems that it’s now live in all five boroughs of New York City along with Los Angeles.

First We Take Manhattan…

Fortunately, you don’t need to live in these cities to experience the fun of Apple’s new Look Around feature, although we can imagine it certainly helps.

However, you can just as easily make a virtual visit through Apple Maps, and as soon as you’re zoomed in enough somewhere in New York City or L.A., you should see a pair of binoculars appear. Tapping on these will show you Look Around view in a window overlaid on the map, and a binoculars icon that you can drag around the map to change your location or perspective.

Tapping on the overlay will switch to a full-screen view that you can navigate around by tapping and dragging, complete with smooth and fun transitions as you move around the city streets.

According to MacRumors, the feature is available in New York City from Manhattan and the Bronx to Brooklyn and Queens, while in Los Angeles you can explore from Burbank to Long Beach to Pomona, although it’s not yet avialalbe in areas further south.

Improved Maps

Apple has actually been quietly working on improving its maps for years, with mapping vehicles seen rolling around as far back as 2015, and a report last year suggested that a top to bottom overhaul was coming, and although that took until this year to even begin arriving, we’re already starting to see the fruits of it not only with Look Around, but also with significantly more detailed maps.

According to the New York Post, Apple has rolled out its overall map improvements to the northeast U.S., including of course New York City, which now features an unprecedented level of detail.

Users looking at Central Park, for example, can now see individual baseball diamonds and more detailed footpaths. Buildings also are more accurately rendered in 3D using flight technology to better depict elevations.

The New York Post

In addition to a stunning new level of detail, CNET notes that the updated maps also provide Siri natural language guidance — allowing you to get directions like “turn right at the next traffic light” rather than more cryptic distance measurements — and also adds real-time transit for New York City and more indoor maps for airports and malls in the northeast U.S. — a feature that rolled out in iOS 11 but has been slow to expand.

The most noticeable improvement, however, is the new maps themselves, which include broader — and more accurate — coverage of road networks, along with better data for pedestrian navigation, accurate addresses, and a much more realistic view of buildings, parks, marinas, and beaches.

Apple has promised that the new maps will cover the entire U.S. by the end of 2019. Mapping has also already been underway in Canada and other countries in preparation for rolling out the more detailed maps and Look Around features elsewhere, and although the company hasn’t shared any timelines for when we might see this, it’s safe to say that it’s going to have to move fast if it wants to catch up to Google Maps.

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