Monday, June 17, 2024

Apple's Updates to Maps, Fitness Plus Aim to Refresh Your Routine, Keep You Organized

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On the heels of its WWDC keynote, Apple on Tuesday shared a series of updates across a number of its services, including Maps, Pay, Music, Fitness Plus and Wallet. The new features will be available in the fall, with the release of iOS 18, iPadOS 18, WatchOS 11 and TVOS 18.

While the iPhone maker spent much of its keynote discussing what it calls Apple Intelligence — AI features baked into its many apps and services — the company is also sharing a handful of other upgrades designed to make everyday tasks, like sending payments and planning workouts, more intuitive. 

Here are the updates you can expect to see later this year.

Apple Maps can help you plan hiking routes

You’ll now be able to browse through thousands of hikes at national parks in the US, which you can filter by length, elevation and route type. You’ll also be able to save them to access when offline. Additionally, you can make custom walking routes for an exercise routine in your city, or a walking tour in a new area. All these hikes and custom walking routes can be saved in a new Places Library, in which you can also add personal notes. 

Apple Pay lets you redeem rewards, access installment loan offerings 

Apple Pay users can now view and redeem rewards, as well as access installment loan offerings from eligible credit or debit cards, when making an online or in-app purchase with their iPhone or iPad. 

These features will be available for Apple Pay-enabled banks or issuers to incorporate in supported markets. The US will be the first to allow you to redeem rewards for a purchase with Apple Pay, starting with Discover and Synchrony, and across Apple Pay issuers with Fiserv. The option to access installments will kick off in the US with Citi, Synchrony, and issuers with Fiserv; in Australia with ANZ; in Spain with CaixaBank; and in the UK with HSBC and Monzo. People in the US can also apply for loans directly through Affirm when checking out with Apple Pay.

Another update to Apple Pay allows you to use the service on any third-party web browser and computer by scanning a code on your iPhone to carry out the payment. And finally, Tap to Provision lets you add eligible credit or debit cards to your Apple Wallet by tapping the card to the back of their iPhone.

Apple Tap to Cash iPhone iOS 18

Tap to Cash lets you send money instantaneously by bringing two iPhones together.

Screenshot by CNET

Tap to Cash gives Venmo a run for its money

A new feature called Tap to Cash lets you send and receive Apple Cash by holding two iPhones next to each other. No need to share numbers.

Apple Wallet offers helpful event information 

Now, tickets in Apple Wallet will provide other useful event information, like venue maps and parking details. You’ll also be able to access services like in-seat food delivery and quick access to Location Sharing, to make it easier for your friends to find you.

Apple Fitness Plus gives personalized recommendations, activity suggestions

A redesign of Apple Fitness Plus across iOS 18, iPadOS 18 and tvOS 18 brings new features like a For You section with personalized recommendations, an Explore area that can help you find new activities and a Library section to track favorite workouts and meditations. There’s also a search function for specific activity types and trainers.  

On the iPhone’s Fitness app, you’ll find personalized Fitness Plus recommendations for workouts and meditations in the Summary tab.

Apple Music is more collaborative and accessible

An update to SharePlay with Apple Music allows more people to share control of what’s playing on a HomePod, Apple TV or any Bluetooth speaker. The best part: You don’t have to have an Apple Music subscription to add tracks.

Apple also mentioned an update it had announced last month called Music Haptics, which lets people who are deaf or hard of hearing experience music through a series of taps, textures and vibrations that play along to the audio through their device. Music Haptics works across millions of songs in Apple Music, and it’ll be available to developers as an API so they can expand this to other apps.

insight feature on tv screen insight feature on tv screen

Apple TV’s InSight feature will help you identify actors and music in a show or movie.

Apple/Screenshot by CNET

Apple TV improves the viewing — and listening — experience

A feature called InSight is coming to the Apple TV app, which will display information about actors, characters and music featured in Apple TV Plus movies and shows as you’re watching (similar to Amazon Prime’s X-Ray feature). Select an actor to see their background and filmography, or glance at the song currently playing and add it to an Apple Music playlist. 

Apple is also using machine learning to roll out a smarter version of Enhanced Dialogue in TVOS 18. This feature makes it easier to hear dialogue over music and background noise on Apple TV 4K (also similar to Amazon Prime’s Dialogue Boost feature).

iCloud Mail helps you stay organized and up to date

Emails in iCloud Mail will be categorized into various folders: Primary for personal and time-sensitive messages, Transactions for receipts and confirmations, Updates for news and social notifications, or Promotions for marking emails and coupons.

And with the rollout of iOS 18, iPadOS 18, MacOS Sequoia and WatchOS 11, Apple ID will be rebranded as Apple Account, to allow for a more consistent sign-in across the company’s devices and services. It’ll use someone’s existing credentials.

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