Hidden 'City Tours' Flyover Feature for iOS 8 Maps Discovered in Beta 2
One of the many new features coming in iOS 8 that Apple did not directly address during its Worldwide Developers Conference is "Flyover city tours". The feature is not currently available by default to those running iOS 8 betas, but developer Pierre Blazquez has discovered how to unlock Flyover city tours and partnered with Mac4Ever [Google Translate] to publish a video showing the feature in action for Paris.
At the moment, only the cities of Rome, Stockholm, Barcelona, New York, Paris, Glasgow, Cape Town, Perth, Bordeaux and the San Francisco Bay are available. One imagines that the visit was carefully prepared manually, and the list is therefore extend gradually over time.
Apple's Maps app received significant criticism following the shift from a Google-powered app to an in-house version for iOS 6. But over the past two years Apple has continued to improve existing features and build out new ones to better compete with Google Maps. The Flyover feature showing 3D perspectives of buildings and physical features has been a particular emphasis for Apple, and the company has been working steadily to extend it to new areas of the world and improve the quality of its renderings.
Still, Apple's Maps team is said to be struggling with internal politics that have resulted in the departure of several key employees. While improvements such as transit information for Maps have been expected for iOS 8, the company mostly glossed over mapping issues with the exception of some new indoor mapping initiatives at WWDC. As a result, it is unclear just how many of the Maps improvements will make their appearance in time for the public launch and how many might be folded into later updates.