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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

The Back Page: Two Hands and a Map

We’re pleased to announce that, as of the end of January 2020, we’ve completed the full rollout of our redesigned Maps in the United States. We think you’ll agree that they’re the best maps ever seen on a technology platform that doesn’t rhyme with Woogle.

This initiative to redesign Maps has spanned many years, and involved hundreds of Apple employees, dozens of satellites, a handful of drones, seven trained pigeons, and almost three hundred self-driving ca-whoops, wrong press release.

Anyway, we think our customers will be delighted with the new maps, which offer new features like indoor maps, flight information, and, of course, roads. All of the roads. Well, the ones we could find. Do you know how hard it is to figure out whether something is a road or a lane? You’d think you could just throw machine learning at it, but noooooo.

Perhaps the most impressive of Maps’s new features is Look Around, which debuted in iOS 13. This never before seen capability allows you to virtually stand in a location and, yes, look around. You know what this means? It means you never have to leave the house ever again. It’s currently only available in a handful of locations, like New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Oahu, but really, where else do you want to pretend to be? New Jersey?

These new maps are the most beautiful and detailed that we’ve ever designed: you really can see your house from here! Zoom in far enough and you might even be able to catch yourself waving. Or, at least, an artist’s rendition of it. We value your privacy.

This isn’t the end of advancements that we have planned for Maps—far from it. Coming soon, we plan to enable Time Machine for Maps, letting you roll back maps to see what used to be there. This will integration with turn-by-turn directions, providing cues that even your folksy old uncle can follow, like “Take a left where Jimmy Karges and I used to buy cream sodas every Sunday” and “Continue straight, past where the nickel movie theater was in 1947.”

We’ll also be adding a new Activity ring for the Apple Watch, the “sitting in traffic” ring, which you can complete by spending just two hours in your car every day. Over time, the Trends feature will calculate just how much of your life you have whiled away staring at the license plate of the car in front of you when you could have been spending that time with your family and loved ones.

And as a special offering for our Bostonian customers, we’ll be adding a new “You Can’t Get There from Heah” feature, which shows you how you could get between two points if there were only a road that doesn’t actually exist, but instead it will take you an hour and involve more rotaries than you can shake a large Dunkin’s iced coffee at.

We hope you enjoy all these latest improvements to Maps, as well as those that are still to come. Remember that Apple Maps should be your choice for all your mapping needs, unless it involves finding the fastest way between two points in which case you should probably just stick with Google Maps.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at dan@sixcolors.com. His latest novel, The Nova Incident, comes out in July and is available to pre-order now, so do it!]

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