Apple quietly updates Maps in Japan

A behind-the-scenes change to Apple's mapping service fixes a handful of issues for users in Japan.

CNET

Apple this week quietly made behind-the-scenes changes to its mapping service in Japan, fixing a handful of shortcomings.

Chief among them are changes to pronunciation during turn-by-turn navigation, a key feature introduced in Apple's own mapping service in iOS 6. The app now also alerts drivers to toll roads, and has better point-of-interest labels for things like subways, freeways, and hospitals.

Other tweaks include 3D buildings for some Japanese landmarks like Tokyo Station and Tokyo Tower, as well as changing the freeway color to green.

The changes rolled out without an additional software update from Apple. That's because they were tucked into an earlier build of the iOS, which was released to users in early February.

Apple has stayed relatively quiet on improvements to Maps since launching it as part of iOS 6 in September. When asked about progress on the software during an earnings call with Wall Street analysts in January, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company had already made "a number of improvements" including improved satellite and flyover imagery as well as local information for businesses.

Apple frenemy Google released its own, standalone maps app for iOS in December. That software was updated for the first time last weekwith a quick search tool and integration with Google's contacts service.

The changes to Apple's maps in Japan were noted yesterday by 9to5Mac.

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