Apple Map’s Look Around feature expands internationally, first to Japan

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Apple Map

Apple Map’s Look Around feature, the company’s answer to Google’s Street View is coming to Japan. The feature is rolled out in Japan before anywhere else and can now be found in four cities across Japan: Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, and Kyoto. The update of the feature was discovered and revealed publicly by Ata Distance

It seems that Apple flipped the switch for Apple Maps Japan with the Look Around feature for the four cities. Plus, it has also improved 2.0 map details nationwide. However, users outside of Japan may not see all the new changes in Apple Map. 

Navigation tests have revealed that turn by turn feature has a new date for better directions. Moreover, it looks like Siri has also gained improved guidance, providing users with finer details such as “turn left,” “walk over the bridge,” etc. Putting all these together, including the new maps and the improvements of Siri’s guidance, plus the new better-quality Japanese Siri voices, the new iOS 14 is an excellent upgrade that users in Japan, at least for now, will be enjoying a lot. 

Apple Map’s Look Around feature comes to Japan first

Apple Map is pretty much the company’s equivalent for Google’s Street View. You can bring up the feature in supported areas by pressing on the binoculars icon, which at first shows the Look Around view in an expandable pop-up window. Compared to Google’s Street View, the transitions between photos are smoother with Apple Map’s Look Around feature, making it feel more like you’re actually on the streets exploring the area in person. 

Yet, Apple has been pretty slow with the rollout. The feature was first available to the US as a component of the iOS 13, which was released last year. Yet, even in the US, the feature is still only available in eight major locations, among which Boston, New York City, and San Francisco. 

Now, we’re seeing the feature expanding internationally for the first time in Japan before anywhere else. This was a surprising move from the company since Apple has previously announced that the UK, Ireland, and Canada will be the locations getting new maps, part of the new iOS 14 this year. 

Ata Distance, which discovered the update of new maps, also analyzed how the rolled out feature in Japan works. It seems that most park areas in Tokyo, such as Shinjuku Gyoen and Yoyogi, have lots of Apple Maps 2.0 details. Moreover, another discovery is that the Look Around feature in Japan is pretty much limited to roadside views. As for walking data, there are still significant data collection efforts ongoing across nationwide. 

Apple Map’s Look Around feature release in Japan this year may not be a coincidence since 2020 was the year of the Tokyo Olympics. It seems like the company worked really intensely to bring this significant update before this major but now postponed event.