The WWDC19 keynote had some Apple Maps 2.0 updates that included a few of my wish list items. The big marquee feature is iOS 13 Apple Maps ‘Look Around’ that finally delivers a Google Maps Street View equivalent. There was no mention of region availability but I assume it matches what Craig Federighi said about Apple Maps 2.0 in the keynote to ‘cover the entire US by the end of 2019 and select countries in 2020’. With Apple Maps image collections vans now combing Japan, Apple Maps Japan is a good candidate to offer Look Around in the next rollout.
Look Around will get most of the attention but it’s a feature I rarely need or use. Real-time Transit sounds like something that might actually be more useful than transit is right now. Look closely at the keynote screen and you see station train times listed exactly like they are Apple Maps Japan iOS 12. However you can also see faint blue text “On Time” listed directly below each subway line.
That would be marginally better than current clunky iOS 12 transit notices but I need to see what, if any, updates iOS 13 has for the transit widget. Will it be a Nearby Transit Time Widget? I doubt it will match the very useful Google Maps location aware train/bus times widget but reserve judgement until the iOS 13 Public Beta.
Some of the other new features like Junction view (is it really only for the USA and China?) would be great for car navigation in Tokyo. Better Siri guidance is listed but still does not includes transit awareness. New MapKit features allow developers to add heat maps and weather overlays but I wish those were built in like they are in Yahoo Japan Maps. Dark Mode Point of Interest icons are attractively toned down, unfortunately the regular map view counterparts still sport the same garish candy colors. Apple Maps 2.0 is slowly delivering better and more accurate map details, but has yet to deliver better basic 2D cartography.