It’s a newly-developed reporting feature that allows users to report accidents, hazards, and speed cameras on the map, pretty much just like Waze lets you do right now on all platforms.
So theoretically, with this update Apple Maps, which has always been more of a rival to Google Maps rather than a Waze alternative, is getting new capabilities relying on a crowdsourcing engine, so it should at one point be able to warn users of traffic incidents ahead.
In other words, Apple Maps is stepping into the Waze territory, though the release of iOS 14.5 beta shows the feature is still in its early days, and additional polishing is still required.
For example, the first time you launch Apple Maps after installing this new beta of the operating system, Siri tells you there’s a new accident reporting feature bundled with the app, and there are two ways to contribute with your own traffic report.
You can either use a voice command like “Hey Siri, there’s an accident” to have the digital assistant send the report for you or swipe up on the map in Apple Maps to reveal a new Report button that lets you mark the location of an accident, other hazards, or speed camera.
Unlike Waze, Apple Maps doesn’t have a more convenient reporting button at this point, but again, the feature is still in its early days, so don’t be too surprised if Apple plans significant improvements in the long term. As it turns out, the new feature has already arrived on CarPlay, too, so users can send reports from their cars as well.
For now, you can only report the three items mentioned above, while Waze also provides support for a wide variety of other hazards, including potholes, fog, and cars parked on the road. It remains to be seen if this is a direction that Apple wants to embrace as well for Apple Maps, but right now, the Cupertino-based tech giant seems ready to build the Waze rival Google never wanted.