Apple updated its Maps app to help travelers find their way through 34 airports worldwide, including guides to shops, restaurants and other services, per TechCrunch. Los Angeles International, New York’s LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy and London’s Heathrow airports are among the airports featured in Apple Maps.
Travelers can see accurate locations of check-in counters, gates, baggage claims, security checkpoints, bathrooms and lounges as part of an interactive layout that includes a 3D view of each airport. IPhone users can also ask Apple’s voice-activated digital assistant Siri for directions to places inside each airport.
Apple Maps added Hong Kong International, Berlin, Houston and Amsterdam airports last month. The company plans to roll out interactive maps for more airports gradually, while its current list is on its website.
Mapping apps have gotten more sophisticated over the years to help people with real-time driving directions and step-by-step routes to locations, while the interiors of shopping malls and transit facilities leave uninitiated visitors to fend for themselves if they’re lost. Following Apple’s update to iOS 11 in September, Apple Maps has gradually opened up these interior spaces where mobile phone reception can be spotty and GPS data less reliable. Apple is playing catch up in indoor mapping, a feature that Google has offered for several years .
San Jose International and Philadelphia International were the first airports in beta versions of iOS 11. Apple Maps added Oakland, Miami, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Baltimore-Washington, Portland, McCarran International in Las Vegas and O'Hare and Midway in Chicago by October, according to Ars Technica. Of course, the biggest challenge may be adding the world’s busiest airport: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International.
Airports that have indoor maps are tagged with a “Look Inside” description that can be tapped to open up a bird’s-eye view of the inside of the terminal. The grid view highlights each gate in yellow, along with key locations like check-in desks. Smartphone users can tap on the map to see more information about shops and restaurants to visit while they’re waiting for a boarding announcement. The app also has reviews from third-party sites like Yelp. The next step to make the app more useful would be to make flight status udpates more accessible, like they are in other apps, but that would require greater coordination among airports and airlines that already are processing reams of data.