Since releasing iOS 6.1, Apple has slowly but surely been working on improvements. iOS 6.1.1 beta was seeded shortly after iOS 6.1 had reached the public domain, but because iOS 6.1.1 and 6.1.2 had to be hurriedly released to the public to see to a number of bugs and security flaws, the next beta was renamed iOS 6.1.3 beta 2, in an attempt to restore some kind of order. Today, rather than releasing iOS 6.1.3 beta 3, the Cupertino company has instead pushed out the update to Maps for those boasting an iOS device – the same updates first seen in those earlier betas.
It was expected that iOS 6.1.3’s eventual release would improve the Maps app for those residing in Japan. As has been well-documented over the past six months, Apple’s in-house mapping service has not had the desired effect on consumers, with most having reverted to Google Maps after the Mountain View-based search giant released its revered app through the App Store. But while many of us have seen steady improvements, the Japanese iteration is severely bereft. Today’s update addresses this somewhat, bringing useful implementations such as bringing turn-by-turn navigation, optimization of directions to favor highways over those narrow country lanes, and other helpful additions to proceedings.
When using the turn-by-turn navigation, upcoming toll roads are now highlighted on the map. Although this is a feature one would perhaps expect from a decent mapping app, Apple’s solution is only gradually reaching a point where it can be branded usable. This update certainly helps, and with added 3D buildings such as Tokyo Station, Japan Imperial Palace and Tokyo Tower, it’s certainly a lot better than it used to be. However, there is still much work to be done, and members of Apple’s iOS software team will still be working around the clock in order to try and win back consumers those who will have migrated to Google Maps en masse.
With the Maps updates now out for those in Japan, there’s still no word on when iOS 6.1.3 will actually become available to the public. With this having been a pretty extended cycle of betas, one suspects it won’t be too long before Apple pushes the update to the end user. We shall, of course, give you guys the heads-up in due course, so stay tuned to our coverage here at Redmond Pie!