Apple Maps Transit Directions Now Live for Hong Kong Residents, Apple Pay Octopus Officially Launches
Apple has updated its Maps app to include real time transit directions and data for Hong Kong residents.
From today, local Apple Maps users can search for metro train stations, bus routes and ferry piers, and get real time transit information for services. The only limitation appears to be a lack of indoor station mapping.
The metropolitan area is one location in Asia where hints of transit support surfaced months ago. However, Apple's Hong Kong mapping has been a complicated issue because of the administrative region's self-governance and autonomy disputes with mainland China.
As noted by tech blog Ata Distance, Apple Maps actually uses two different map data sources for Hong Kong – AutoNavi map data for mainland SIM iPhones, and another one for non-mainland SIM iPhones. This led to an unusual situation in which transit directions where available to Chinese visitors but not to residents of Hong Kong.
Also today, Apple Pay Octopus officially launched in Hong Kong, just before 1.00 a.m. local time, following a silent rollout that began on Monday. A press event is scheduled to take place at 12.30 p.m. local time.
Apple Pay Octopus is similar to Apple Pay Suica with Express Transit – users just hold the top of their iPhone or Apple Watch near an Octopus reader to use, and there's no need to unlock the device or open an app. Even if the device shuts down due to low battery, users can still use Octopus.
Apple Octopus Pay is compatible with iPhone 8 and later devices updated to iOS 13.5, and Apple Watch Series 3 and later running watchOS 6.2.5.
Octopus Cards Limited first announced Apple Pay Octopus would be "coming soon" in July 2019, but the launch was pushed back several times, eventually to "later in 2020" without explanation.