Apple looks set to give virtual vacationers a new way to experience some of the world's great cities from above with Flyover city tours, pre-made aerial guides that take viewers on a digital sightseeing trip using Apple's 3D Flyover technology.
Flyover city tours were quietly announced by Apple at last week's Worldwide Developers Conference, and an early version of the feature has been uncovered by developer Pierre Blazquez using hidden debug menus in the latest iOS 8 beta release. Video of a Paris city tour was published by Mac4Ever.
In the video, Apple Maps is shown automatically zooming in on and panning around notable Paris landmarks including the PanthÃ©on and the Notre Dame cathedral. The motion is smooth and fluid, suggesting that at least some of the data for individual city tours could be pre-cached.
According to Blazquez, Apple has created tours for the cities of Barcelona, Rome, Stockholm, New York, Glasgow, Cape Town, Perth, Bordeaux, and San Francisco in addition to Paris. It is unclear at this time whether Apple plans a city tour for every Flyover-enabled locale or if they are choosing only historically significant areas for the treatment.
Flyover launched alongside the original version of Apple's maps in iOS 6 and, despite a few hiccups, has been widely praised for its fidelity. The technology powering Flyover came from Swedish firm C3 Technologies, which Apple acquired in 2011 for what some estimate was as much as $250 million.