Apple completely relaunches Maps app in Germany

Most smartphone users rely on Google Maps to find the fastest way to a destination – for now. Now Apple is making a serious counter-proposal: The software giant has thoroughly pimped its Maps app and introduced some features that the market leader lacks. atechbook presents the most important innovations.

Apple’s Maps app already existed before. However, it never performed as well in comparison with the competitor Google Maps, which convinces with high location accuracy and user-friendliness. Now the (literal) cards could be reshuffled: thanks to a series of innovations that Apple has implemented in its Maps app for Germany.

Apple’s Maps app: new features for Germany

Apple actually made the improvements to its Maps app as early as 2021, but initially only for users abroad (e.g. in the US, UK and Italy). Now they have also arrived in the German software for the iPhone and iPad. This should make planning any trip easier – and, thanks to augmented reality, fun, too.

Apple Maps App
Apple has thoroughly overhauled its Maps app Photo: Apple

More accurate display

Essentially, the update is about more precise navigation and improved orientation. By means of 3D views of numerous sights and well-known buildings (e.g. Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie concert hall or the Brandenburg Gate), users should be able to see exactly where they are or where they want to go.

In its newsroom, Apple speaks of a unique “depth of detail for residential neighborhoods, commercial areas, ports, buildings and more.” With improved street detail and elevation rendering, as well as visual delineation of residential neighborhoods (with green space) and commercial areas, finding your way is said to be easier than ever.

“Natural Language Guidance” for road users

Furthermore, navigation is no longer limited to certain means of transport. This means, for example: Anyone who has parked their car will now be navigated along the same route on foot to their final destination. Even inside buildings. Users will be able to find their way around train stations, airports or shopping malls, for example, if they are looking for the washrooms.

Apple has also tweaked the language in its renewed Maps app. Whereas before it pointed out an action in, say, “250 meters,” now it says specifically, “Turn left at the next light.” This Natural Language Guidance, i.e. instructions in natural language, is intended to make navigation more understandable for drivers.

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Virtual trips à la Google Street View

According to Apple, a key feature is also the “Look Around” function, which is virtually its own version of the well-known Google Street View. It has already been available for a few international cities in the USA and Canada as well as Europe. The feature allows users to take a virtual tour of a place. Munich is the first and so far only city in Germany to be included; others are planned.

What is already available for other German cities besides Munich – including Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt am Main and Cologne – are detailed directions for pedestrians, he said. Users need only scan a building in their area. This allows the app to position them with high precision and generate accurate route directions via augmented reality.

Maps app for Apple devices only

The Maps app can only be used on Apple devices. Those who have previously installed it should find an updated version on their iPhone without any intervention on their part. Otherwise, it is available free of charge in the Apple Store.