Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Finally: G-Map hits the road!

Well, at least this time, XRoad kept their promise to release G-Map "in mid December 2008". As for now, a version of the western US is available trough the AppStore for the reasonable price of 20 US$.

The Screenshots also look very promising and also the feature list is neat. Unfortunately, there is no demo version available at this time. On G-Map's support site, there is a web form that has a dropdown list which mentions US east and North America, so those are likely to be released very soon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Navionics Viewer, now available to US customers

"You can see your GPS position, tap the screen to zoom in and out, scroll the chart, query objects, find your favorite marina or ski hut with their phone number, find the trail best suitable for your skill level or your hottest fishing spot, and so on."

This is what they say on their website, and unfortunately, that's it. Navionics will bring you Maps. All you can do is look at them and have your current position displayed by a red circle on the map. That's it. To me, this is very disappointing.

Maybe the focus were naval users, at least you get a very strong impression that they were.... the "land" maps are not usable to hikers or bikers or whoever. Maybe that's the point, but I still don't get why there is nothing more to navigate other than displaying your position? You can't even set a destination and plot a course.

Although the Navionics packages have a greate map coverage each than the Charts&Tides packages, I wouldn't buy them at all, altough both cost approximately the same. Not only will you get "real" navigation with Charts&Tides, but also will Navionics' packages cost 99 $ after the introduction phase. No thanks.

Navionics should do their homework first. In the end, their application offers nothing more than the "Water Map Navigators" at this time for a multiple of the price. So why should anyone want to buy something like this?

PathAway coming to iPhone next year!

PathAway, a software that may be known to GPS users that use bitmap charts for biking, hiking etc. on their PDA in particular, will come to the iPhone some time next year (which is - awesome!)!

PathAway is a powerful chart plotter that is capable of handling everything you might ever want to use. This includes custom charts, tracks, waypoints, POIs, routes, proximity alarms and all that other fancy stuff you might get from a GPS device, ever.

There also is a "Professional Edition" that will add wireless services to the already comprehensive feature list of the "Standard Edition" like life tracking or downloading (Google) maps over the air.

The regular price is 59,95 US$ for the Standard Edition and 95 US$ for the Professional Edition.

Monday, December 15, 2008

New features to Garafa, LLC's "GPS Kit"

Garafa, LLC have released the best GPS suite available in the AppStore at this time: GPS Kit. It features almost everything you would expect from a proper GPS device like tracking, waypoints and even map plotting.

But all this is subject to becoming even better with future releases. According to tech support, the next update will feature GPX import (yes!!!) and they're working on a version that should be able to cache maps so that you have them ready in areas without a network/cellular connection.

Altough this is great and it definedly is a step in the right direction, I'm still missing an application that would allow me to use my own maps AND has waypoint and route import via GPX.

In other news, well, there is no news on G-Map or 3DVU yet ;)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Why is there no GPX import?

There are a lot of navigation applications on the AppStore and even most of them deserve the category. Somehow.
Well, unfortunately, there are quite too much that do too little (in my opinion). For example, have a look at all the tracking and compass tools. Then there are all those "car finders" and all the other finders that will e.g. find Startbucks or Target stores for you.

On a proper GPS or navigation device, you'll have it "all in one". For example, there are POI (points of interest) databases built into most GPS receivers which can be expanded easily. Most of the manufacturers use proprietary data formats, but there also is the "uber" format GPX, which is open and well known. Beside that, there are converters from virtually any format to GPX and vice versa.

So, why is there no application that imports GPX data? For example, you could create a hiking route on your favourite PC application (like OziExplorer, Fugawi or TTQV) and then export it to the iPhone. You wouldn't neccesarily need a map, the route itself would be quite helpful...

Offline maps are no issue, as well as the import of data. Just look at the "Charts&Tides" maps or apps like "Air Sharing". So, there should be no technical issues...
Maybe there is no need for such an application? Or maybe, the developers just haven't realized a need for such an application or feature. I have! ;-)
It also might be a fear of the developers, being rejected because of the "no turn by turn" agreement section of the iPhones SDK...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Xroads G-Map delayed, no sign of 3dvu yet

Well, obviously Xroad finally realized that it ain't november no more, so they changed their announcement on the Q.T. The website now reads "G-Map will be available in mid of December, 2008." instead of "early November" (which it did, in fact, still on December 1st).
There is no sign why this delay might have happened, maybe it is AppStore approval related, but most likely it is not.

Beside that, there's nothing new about 3dvus applicaton yet. Last month, they promised to have it ready "next month" which is December. But as December just has begun, we still can wait a little longer easily.

Friday, November 21, 2008

iPhone firmware 2.2 is out!

Apple released the 2.2 firmware for iPhone and iPod touch just on schedule. There are quite some neat improvements, espechially in the Maps application, but unfortunately, there's no word on a turn-by-turn navigaiton app yet.

Also, no sign of 3dvu's or Xroad's solutions for the iPhone yet.

Beside that, there is a nice new offline map application, called Navionics Viewer, available in the AppStore. It just features 2 maps yet, so you can consider it a preview of what is to come. Navionics Viewer aims to naval, skiing and hiking users that want to carry their maps, supported by GPS, but offline, with them.
More maps are about to be released in future, but most likely, they will be commercial.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

3dvu back online!

After having some problems with their website, 3dvu are back online and still have a picture of their software running on an iPhone. Yet, there still is no information about it available, but is said to be released in December. We'll see...

G-Map brings offline maps to iPhone, including routing

Unfortunately, this does not mean turn-by-turn, but XRoad's G-Map is announced for "early November 2008" wich basically is like... um... now ;)

G-Map features offline map data as well as routing, making it a nice alternative to Maps, especially when there would be need to use roaming or you don't even have a cellular connection at all.
Beside that, G-Map has "3D view of intricate major intersections and highway junctions" as well as POI handling.

It seems that in November there will be an US version only, as they say "G-Map for Europe, Central/South America, Asia and other countries and regions will be available by the end of the year." No pricing information is available yet, it "can be confirmed once they have been officially put up in the App store".

Monday, November 10, 2008

Turn-by-turn as soon as next month?

A commenter on my blog wrote this:

"Navi2Go for iPhone is out next month. Its featuring new 3D aerial photography AND lined-map navigation with 3D landscape elevation, both at the same $9.99 a month."

According to the Navi2Go website, their services are available at pre-subscription, at least one year in advance.

I don't know where this comment comes from, maybe an employee of Navi2go? And how do you get Navi2go to your iPhone? Jailbreaking comes to mind...

Well, we'll see. Next month ;)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mitch Wagner tells us why we shouldn't wait for Turn-by-turn...

...and I tell you why he might be wrong.

Mitch says "The obstacles can be summed up in one word: Wires. Steve Jobs hates wires. He's right about that. Wires are ugly, inconvenient, and they get tangled up in hairballs. Using turn-by-turn directions for the iPhone will result in a lot of wires running all over the front of your car. "

Well, yeah, wires are bad! That's why Steve Jobs enabled synch to iTunes over wifi and bluetooth. Wait. He didn't?! ;-)

Well, I don't know what Mitch used for navigation before, but I tell you what I did. I used my Nokia E61i with TomTom and a bluetooth GPS mouse before. Wires? Well, yeah, there was one (in numbers: 1) wire that connected my phone to a power source. Don't know where Mitch's "a lot of wires" should come from.

Then there's the iPhone's speaker. "The iPhone's built-in speaker is too weak to use on its own." Well, the speaker on my E61i wasn't the loudest one, but it was fairly loud enough to be used for navigation purposes. As the iPhone's speaker definedly is louder that the E61i's was, I presume that should be quite enough.

The battery is to weak for turn-by-turn? Well, of course it is! And of course you will need some kind of external power source, or can you name an in-car navigation device that will run on battery all day long? There won't be much of them, I presume. Beside that, you have a power outlet in your car, so why shouldn't you be using it (like all the other navigation gadgets do)?

But Mitch goes on:
"So here's what a car trip using the hypothetical iPhone turn-by-turn directions would look like: Get in your car. Put the iPhone into its cradle. Plug one end of the power cord into the iPhone. Plug the other end of the power cord into your cigarette lighter. Connect the iPhone output to an external sound system, either through a hardwire or by putting on your Bluetooth headset and powering it up. Then you're ready to start the iPhone and its turn-by-turn directions app. That's a lot of trouble just to run down to the store to pick up a quart of milk. I'm exhausted just thinking about it, I need to lie down."

Mitch, you should get some exercise. Seriously ;-)
Well, the solution Mitch thought of sounds cr**py. Why? Because it is the wrong solution. It sounds like something knocked together from individual parts to a makeshift solution.
I don't think he has ever seen some kind of in-car solution that uses a PocketPC, Windows Mobile smartphone or something else.
Here's what it could look like: you have a cradle in your car, attatched to the windscreen by a suction cup. There's exactly one cable that plugs into your power outlet, preferably a helix cable that wouldn't be "running all over the front of your car".
The cradle itself has a dock connector that plugs into your phone automatically when you put the Phone into the cradle. Beside that, it also features a loudspeaker (which is also connected trough the dock connector).

See? No cables, no hassle, just a simple cradle, plug and go. I think Mitch could be able to handle this whithout having to lie down, sitting in the driver seat should be fairly enough. ;-)

It could look something like this, not so ugly, but I think you see where this is going.

But that's not enough. Mitch also says that a reason for not having turn-by-turn might be and "fear by TomTom and other makers of GPS software that the iPhone would cannibalize sales of dedicated GPS hardware".
Well, yeah, this might be a fear of TomTom, but why should the companys that produce GPS software only be feared of that!?

But in the end, Mitch says "
In writing this blog post, I'm taking a risk. After all, I'm just speculating here." Well yes, me too. But I'm still confident that turn-by-turn will be there soon. So let's just wait and see who's right in the end (and hope that it will be me).

Monday, October 27, 2008

No Turn-by-turn? Theiphoneblog says why...

Well, we all know that there is no official solution for Turn-by-turn navigation on the iPhone, yet. Why? Well, let's have a look at Theiphoneblog. Some points they make sound quite reasonable, but in my opinion only at first sight.

Licensing conflicts? Well, yeah, Apple doesn't own the data provided by Google. Who said that an Application made by Apple would have to use Google's data?

SDK agreements? Well, that is no point at all because Apple made the agreement and they can change it any time. Beside that: the agreement applies to 3rd party developers only, not Apple.

A company like TomTom would be afraid of less hardwae units sold? Sorry, but that's complete bulls*. TomTom, like many other, already sells their navigation software to be used on cell phones. It runs on Windows and Symbian based handsets. So, why shouldn't they sell it on the iPhone as well?

Well, I don't have any better idea myself at this time why there might be no Turn-by-turn on the iPhone, but I still think that it will come soon, maybe this year...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yet another candidate for turn-by-turn navigation...

...and yet another "Coming soon" is 3DVUs Navi2Go. A nice feature seperating them from others like TeleNav is using Google Earth (or similar) satellite images for their maps, thus giving you a quite nice impression about your surroundings any maybe making it easier to use it (3D Buildings seem to be included as well).

But then, similar to all the others, you have to have an internet connection to use it, which renders it almost useless while being abroad (and having to roam).

Still, the suspense continues. On the one hand, there (still) is the SDK agreement that forbids turn-by-turn, on the other hand there are all those companies that claim to have software ready or at least ready soon...

I hope we'll be surprised soon ;-)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Turn-by-turn on the iPhone, this time for real?

Theiphoneblog recently reported a rumor about turn-by-turn coming to the iPhone soon. The rumor says that Apple might be developing a navigation software for the iPhone. But it's just a rumor, nothing more yet.
Anyway, I'm still confident that we'll see turn-by-turn before the end of the year.

In other news, RoadComms "LifeInPocket" is said to be available on the iPhone soon. As "usual", no data is stored locally, making it uninteresting for navigating abroad (roaming costs, you remember?). Beside that and the availability on the iPhone at this time, it seems quite unlikely that it will feature turn-by-turn-navigation on the iPhone.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Core Location accuracy improved by Google

The iPhone blog reports that the accuracy of the blue circle (more like a blue gunsight-like crosshair to me) was improved by Google. As I figured out, this is Core Location related, because not only will it improve performance on Maps, but also on all other applications using Core Location.
The accuracy gained is quite impressive. If you don't look at the error, the position itself is quite close to your real position (still, it will be really unreliable, leaving you with an accuracy of around 300m).

The improved accuracy maybe great, however, on the downside, your positional information is being sent to Google in some way, wich might leave the possibility for Google to track you whenever you use something that uses Core Location, which does not have to be the builtin Maps application.
I'm not saying that Google will track you but neither do I say the opposite. The thought of being tracked by -doesn't matter who- and also being sure not being able to avoid this by not using "their" application leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I don't know if it was possible to eavesdrop the traffic that is being sent to Google, but I'll give it a try as soon as possible. Even if, it is uncertain if there will be hints that you are being tracked or not, but I can imagine that you are at least as curious as I am...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2.1 doesn't change anything to GPS users

Yep, that's it. There were no changes at all to the Core Location Framework in the 2.1 firmware. There's quite a nice list in the Macrumors forum that points out the changes quite nicely. In addition to that, I have some other sources (that I don't want to quote here) that confirmed that there were no changes at all.

Too bad, but I don't think that we will see turn-by-turn before the next major release. At least, I'm still confident that there might be such an application before the end of this year, considering the recent firmware release frequency and also Christmas trade.

As always, hope dies last.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Firmware 2.1 available now!

Firmware 2.1 is available now to iPhone users. It reads 5F136 internally.

Besides, there are no new applications available yet, neither are there updates for existing ones that would benefit from the changes to the Core Location Framework that were said to be inside 2.1

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

[Update] No news! - Is it good news?

So, I had a look at the new OS 2.1 SDK. As long as the Core Location Framework is concerned, there is no news. At least according to the documentation, nothing has changed and espechially no new features have been added.
This might be due to a delay in publishing or perhaps in restrictions (maybe the registered and paying developers already have the information?), but it also seems likely that it might have been dropped from the 2.1 release (like the server based notification framework).

Anyway, it's not all said and done, so let's just keep calm and wait for Friday and the release of iPhone OS 2.1 to the public. If there were changes (improvements) in the Core Location framework, we might see updates to some of the navigation apps until the end of September.

Update: I've forgotten to mention that there was no change in the SDK agreement either... :-(
But still, it's not Friday yet.

So, big day was here...

Apple has released the new iPhone SDK, that belongs to iPhone OS 2.1, to the wider public. Unfortunately, the reference documents that are available online haven't changed yet, so it is still kind of uncertain if the new navigation features said to be in 2.1 are really there.
Anyway, I'm already downloading the SDK and have a closer look to that later on.

Beside that, iPod 2.1 has been released already right after the event yesterday, while iPhone users will have to wait until Friday. Will there be a mass-update on navigation apps on Friday? While there - might - be some handy new features in the Core Location framework, I still doubt that all of the developers are eager to release new versions on Friday. Then there also is the reviev process that usually leads to more or less long delays which could also prevent that, even if all the apps affected would be submitted right on time.

So, stay put for a little closer look on the new features...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Big day on tuesday?

There are quite some rumors about what's going to happen on tuesday, September 9. According to Ars Technica, it is somewhat likely that not only iTunes 8, but also iPhone firmware 2.1 will be released.
What we do already know is that it will bring some improvements in the iPhone 3Gs GPS features (which is mostly interesting to developers) that will likely enable developers to bring turn-by-turn applications to the iPhone.

So, will it be the big day? Will we see turn-by-turn very soon, after all?
Well, we will know, but not before Tuesday, I guess.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The iPhone blog commenting SDK related issues

TiPB published a post about SDK agreements just yesterday. It addresses some quite interesting issues in the involvement amongst Google (Maps) and their map data providers Tele Atlas and Navteq.
I also mentioned those issues in a comment to a post recently, but TiPB had an in-depth look.

I still can't decide if this is a pro or con TomTom, so read (and judge) for yourself. It is quite interesting and worth reading ;)

Six weeks of iPhone 3G: a balance

So, it has been six week since the launch of iPhone 3G and App Store. What did developers come up with until now?

Some time, when I browse the App Store for new applications, I thing "oh great, just another speedometer app". After an initial enthusiasm things became boring somehow. Now, that's because there are
  • 6 Speedometers and
  • 8 "Mail my position" apps.
So, that's what's good on the iPhone? That's what people want? Speedometers and mailing where they are? I don't think so, not at all...

Well, competition may be good, but this is a little too much, I think (If you want to have a real choice, have a look at "tip calculators"! There are like a hundred of them or so...).

There are also good examples of proper GPS applications, and maybe one more might not hurt anybody. Those are:
  • Geopher Lite (Geocaching app)
  • GPS Kit (Does almost all a proper GPS does, e.g. a Garmin geko)
  • GPS Compass which is sort of a light version of GPS Kit ;-)
  • Path Tracker and Snail Trail (which do tracking and export)
We (or at least I) want more of that! Not just another stupid Speedometer...

Path tracking with Snail Trail

Snail Trail is another path tracking app for your iPhone. You can suspend tracking (by hitting the home button) and later on continue. It also features waypoints that can be added. Export is done by mail, you can hit the "email coordinates" button and a mail with a Google Earth KML file attatchment will be sent to the mail address provided. It's priced 0.99$

It's basically the same as Path Tracker, which I do like more for its looks.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Turn-by-turn-Navigation on the iPhone!

Well, don't get over-excited, but there really is such a software! It is called FreeMap and if you speak hebrew and live in Israel, this might be really cool for you. If you don't it still might show you what is possible if you just don't care about the SDK agreements and you warranty ;-)

There is a Wiki that says something about Cydia and sorce, I guess this is about installing their beta version on the iPhone 3G. Unfortunately, my hebrew isn't that good, so I don't have a clue...
Unfortunately, the source isn't working at this time, so I can't even try it.

A demo video can be seen here.

iFail

I stand corrected - obviously, you don't need to have reception of a cellular network in order to receieve GPS positional info. I don't know if this was changed in firmware 2.0.1, but nevertheless, it works!

Until now, all I did was some tests using different SIM modules and the flight mode. The obvious thing, just testing it without a SIM, didn't come to my mind (probably because you just can't run most mobile phones without one).

Well, yesterday I tested my iPhone without using a SIM, and - behold - there was GPS! I checked that there was no cellular reception, using the cellular network monitor (dialling *3001#12345#*).
So it seems that Apple disables anything that has to do with radio using the flight mode, even GPS. The funny thing is, though, that you still can enable WiFi using the flight mode, but there is no way to do so with GPS.

So, sorry to all of whom I might have confused, cellular network reception is of no matter to GPS on the iPhone.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

iNavX: a chart plotter for the iPhone

I have to admit that I've somehow missed iNavX until now, because it is available trough the US App Store at this time.

Anyway, iNavX is a chart plotter for marine charts. Not only plots it your position on the chart in real time, it also provides navigation info like heading, speed and so on. Waypoints are also supported, of course.

The maps used are being downloaded from the NOAA servers but then stored locally on the iphone. There is no way to download your own maps for usage on the phone.

It's nice to see that, maybe in the future, there might be navigation apps for outdoor activists, that use topographical maps. Perhaps something like the Ozi Explorer CE, who knows?
At this time, it seems likely that you will have a "pair" of applications, one to prepare the maps and data on your computer and the other to display them on your iPhone.

Earthscape Basic brings Google Earth to iPhone

Earthscape has launched an application named Earthscape Basic trough App Store. It is an application very similar to Google Earth on normal computers like your PC or Mac. Altough it is not mentioned anywhere, it seems quite likely that the origin of the data is Google Earth.

The promotional video looks very promising, it seems to run quite fast on the iPhone. Many Wikipedia geotagged locations are linked to the surface, being displayed as a "W" icon. Tapping those icons will open the Wikipedia link in Safari.

This looks like a handy tool if you are somewhere unfamiliar and you ask yourself "What's that hill over there?". Well, pop up Earthscape and look it up! ;-)

pwnage impact on GPS

Disclaimer: I don't want you to "pwn" your iPhone. Pwnage is bad! It will void your warranty, Steve Jobs will loose weight because you do so and for every millionth iPhone pwned some wacko will torch the Apple facilities. So, just don't, okay?

Still, there might be reasons why a pwned iPhone might be interesting regarding GPS usage. First of all, there is an App that allows you to use Google Maps offline, but this might be interesting to those without an unlimited data plan only.

Then there is an App called "Insomnia". All it does is preventing the iPhone from going into suspend after the screen is switched off, thus allowing e.g. a tracking applikation like Path Tracker to track your journey after the iPhones screen was switched off. This might save some energy, but as the iPhone isn't able to suspend, it will still drown your battery.

Last but not least there is an application that is able to backup your program data, allowing to keep information stored after an update trough App Store. This isn't really a GPS related application, but still might be helpful.

Yeah, this is what you might get if you would pwn the iPhone. But, I'm sure you wouldn't. (At least, don't say I made you do so and especially don't blame me if something went wrong!)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Will TomTom be available soon?

gigaom reports that TomTom, again, said that their mobile navigation app is ready to roll. They say:

“We have made our navigation system run on the iPhone; it looks good and works very well,” a TomTom spokesperson wrote us in a statement. “We will have to look more closely to Apple’s strategy before we can say more about what kind of opportunities this will bring us.”

Well, TomTom, don't look, just do it! ;-)

In other news, not only TomTom and Telenav, but also Garmin and Magellan are said to be interested in the iPhone. Garmin say they "don’t have any announcements regarding the iPhone at this time". Small wonder, considering the nüvifone.
But still, Turn-by-turn is said to arrive this year! Some issues about the SDK are also mentioned in this article, so go and have a look ;)

TeleNav seems to be working on an iPhone version of their software since the SDK was released and were able to create an application that works quite well on the iPhone.
I don't know how long it takes to develop an application as compex as TeleNavs navigator, but maybe the problem is just that the SDK was released to late for navigation software developers to come up with a solution in time (on Launch of the iPhone).
We're just a month away from the launch of iPhone 3G, so we should just relax a bit ;-)

GPS Kit turning the iPhone into a proper GPS unit

So, finally someone made a proper GPS application, turning your iPhone 3G into a GPS receiver with features similar to e.g. a Garmin geko series.

It features a customizable dashboard as well as track and waypoint recording. The data collected can be sent via email. There's no word about the data formats used, but the description suggests that it might be in Google Earth kml/kmz format.

What it still lacks is a compass/waypoint goto screen and the ability to use routes. The latter might be missing because of the SDK agreements, but a compass screen that virtually all GPS units feature would be really really nice ;)

All you can get on the homepage is a video that gives you a hard time trying not to get seasick while watching. The application is priced 9,99 US$

I'm really glad to see that there is not just another "Here I am" or just another "Speedometer" pointless app... Good work, Garafa, keep it up!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Epoch Times claims Navizon to have iPhone software

Epoch Times claims that Navizon has, like TeleNav and TomTom, a navigation software ready to roll. This is kind of interesting as I haven't heard of this before. First of all, I thought that it was claimed by mistake, because the article itself has some other quite funny mistakes in int...

But then, as you go to the download page, yes, the iPhone is mentioned! Unfortunately, you have to have it jailbroken, as it seems. Also, the installation manual is dated 26/03/2008, so it will very likely NOT run on an iPhone 2.0.

Beside all this, Navizon doesn't provide Turn-by-Turn navigation after all...

iPhone 2.0.1 causing GPS problems?

There are rumors about 2.0.1 causing GPS problems. Those problems seem to be quite similar to those reported on 2.0, not being able to get a fix with 3G enabled or the phone "up" for a time.

At least, that is what forum posts suggest what it is.

Unfortunately, I don't have no 3G reception at my workplace, so I can't check that issue, but I'll keep an eye on that.

Monday, August 11, 2008

[Update] Path Tracker 1.1 available

Path Tracker 1.1 has been approved by Apple and is available trough App Store now. The author warned us to use Path Tracker 1.0, but as it seems, 1.1 is ready to use.

Unfortunately, the most interesting features like GPX and KML export are yet to come (in version 1.2, which has already been submitted to Apple). Still, I'm going to have a look at it and I'll see what it can do and what it can't. So, stay tuned ;)

Update: I'm sorry to say so, but Path Tracker isn't worth it, not even in 1.1 and not even at its price. That Path Tracker will only track while the phone is not in sleep mode (the screen lit) was kind of obvious, but beside this, the application keeps on crashing... so, let's wait for 1.2, which, according to the author, has already been released to Apple for approval.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Apple's Core Location remote disabling feature

Engadget reports that Jonathan Zdziarski might have gotten it a little wrong and that this "feature" implemented into Core Location is "just" meant to empower Apple to disable Core Location remotely for certain apps.

But still, what for? Somehow, this (still) doesn't make any sense to me. Applications are being tested before they are released to App Store (in theory). So, no "harmful" application should be installed on the iPhone in the first place.
If there was need to prevent a certain application from being used, Apple could simply revoke the certificate. So Apple should be on the safe side anyway, one should think.

But this remote "feature" suggests that there is a need for a navigation application to be disabled instantaneous. Why??

If you have any idea why this might be needed, feel free to leave a comment.

new URL

As from now, this blog can also be read using http://igps.bebef.de. That's it ;)

Remote kill of GPS apps possible!

Jonathan Zdziarski, the guy who discovered the possibility to blacklist applications trough Apple that was hidden somewhere in the Core Location framework, was able to kill any application that actually uses GPS.

"With a little DNS spoofing, I've managed to feed my own list into the iPhone and effectively kill any application that attempts to use the GPS, including Google Maps."

But what for? Apple should have control over its App Store, thus preventing unwanted navigation applications to be installed on the device in the first place. And for really unwanted applications on your (jailbroken) phone, it would be easy to disable the mechanism mentioned, rendering it useless. Besides, if - for whatever reason - you want to prevent people from using GPS, you would degrade or jam the signal or whatever and not prevent just iPhone users from using GPS.

So, what could that functionality of killing GPS apps be good for? The only reason I might thing of would be a scenario in that Apple releases a turn-by-turn navigation app, becomes sued and then has the opportunity to render it useless instantaneous.
But somehow, this also sounds a bit ridiculous to me.

I'd love to give more information about this mechanism. I dropped a line to Jonathan, let's just hope he'll reply soon with a bit more pieces of information ;)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Reason for "online" need of GPS found?

iPhoneatlas reports that there is a function to "call home" hidden somewhere in core location. Obviously, this is used to revoke "bad" applications distributed trough App Store.

So, might this be the reason for GPS to work only when connected to a cellular network? I don't think so, because you just have to have reception of a cellular network for the GPS to work but there is no need to have working connection to the internet.

By the way, I've got no response yet to my inquiry to Infineon and I somehow doubt there will be one at all... With further information on the chipset, I could determine whether you need cellular network in order to have working GPS and if this could be changed to standalone or not.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

GPS in 2.0.1

Small wonder, but there are now big news regarding GPS in 2.0.1. Still, you have to have reception of a cellular network in order to initialize your GPS. Reception quality (or let's say accuracy) wasn't improved either.

Also, it seems that App Store submissions are stagnating a bit, so no news at the software front either.

Coming up next: iPhone OS 2.1...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

iPhone 2.0.1 firmware available

Apple has released the 2.0.1 firmware which is available trough iTunes. According to Apple, it contains - big surprise - "Bug fixes".
This is a little early as it was said to arrive next week. As no one knows yet which bugs are to be fixed, I can't say for sure if this will affect GPS in any way (or not), but I'll find out soon ;)

Monday, August 4, 2008

More navigation software coming up

There are a few new navigation apps available trough App Store. It seems as if now was the time of "speedometer applications". There are three applications available, Speed, SpeedBox and Speedometer. They just display your speed (which is calculated by means of two positions and time difference because the API doesn't have the bearing- and speed features yet), that's all.
I wonder why not any of those feature average or top speed display or mileage or whatever. But I think we'll see this in a future update.

Furthermore, there is a new compass, similar to G-Spot, but looking nicer and also featuring all the common data fields you might know from your GPS receiver (like altitude, odometer, max speed and so on...). This pushes the iPhone a step closer to common GPS receivers like those from Garmin.

Unfortunately, there still is no sign of turn-by-turn...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Miracle Store pops up further navigation software

Somehow, there are some applications in the navigation section available now that weren't there yesterday, but judging by their release date should have been... That App Store is becoming a bigger and bigger miracle to me...

Anyway, there is "Over Here" and the two "Here I Am" which basically all do the same: send your position by email to another iPhone user. Then there is "Path Tracker" which is a tracklogging application.
Tracklogging is a feature that is offered by almost every GPS device. It is nice to know where you have been, for instance if you want to combine your tracklog with fotos of your digital camera (not the iPhones camera, of course).
Unfortunately, PathTracker does not support export (e.g. via GPX files) at this time.

I'd like to cite a funny aspect here. Judge for yourself ;-)

This version 1.0 does not work well on the iPhone 3G. Version 1.1 has big improvements and will hopefully appear in the App Store soon. Please wait for version 1.1 before installing or reviewing this app. The iPhone is so popular that Apple is overwhelmed with application submissions, so please be patient.

The App Store version reads "1.0" at this time.

New navigation software available

Unfortunately, no turn-by-turn, but a new free piece of navigation software still is available. It is called "Here I Am" from Arboretum Software.
It is very simple. All it does is gathering your location and then sending a link to Google Maps via email. That's basically it.

This software might be also useful to people who who simply want to record where they have been. Just send an email to yourself and there you go.

There is another point about this app. It can display the accuracy of the positional data, so maybe you want to play with it while walking about in order to get a better eye for it.

Funny thing though: there is another Application named "Here I am" available, doing exactly the same but being from another developer. Yeah, we all like the App Store....

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Do the SDK addons really enable turn-by-turn nav?

Well, initially I intended to have a more thoroughly look at the iPhones SDK and comparable ones like J2ME and Symbian. But, due to recent changes in Apples SDK, I'll have a quick look at those now.

Apples SDK does not feature speed and heading information at this time, although you could calculate it anyway. For example, PosiMotions G-Spot does this. Badly. But PosiMotion isn't the one to blame. I've done some experiments with the SDK myself, and location updates seem to be rather "jumpy".

Anyway, back to topic. Both J2ME (JSR 179) and Symbian feature classes that have functions like speed() and heading(). Neither of those are available in iPhone OS 2.0.
I can't tell if you really would need those functions to enable turn-by-turn navigation, but given the fact that both J2ME and Symbian have the ability to provide this data, it might be at least a good hint.

Just a last word on TomTom and their application that already runs on the iPhone. As far as I got it, first versions ran on the old iPhone which didn't have GPS at all. So in all likelihood they have built their own GPS receiver that could provide any data they needed, including heading and speed.
And, beside the fact that they might be missing crucial location API features, they also have to port their app from 1.x to 2.x!

I'll have another close look at all the location APIs, maybe also on Blackberry, as soon as 2.1 is released. At this time, unfortunately, it is just available to developers that already have been approved to publish their applications trough AppStore, which I am not.

Friday, July 25, 2008

iPhone OS 2.1 beta released, adding GPS features?

Gearlive reports that Apple has released OS 2.1 beta 1 along with a new SDK version for development purposes. The SDK is said to add additional Core Location features like heading and speed.
This might be a hardware feature of the GPS chipset as well as a software feature (just by calculation of differences between two locations). Unfortunately, Infineon still hasn't sent me any data on the Hammerhead II upon my inquiry, so I can't tell.
What I can't tell either is what is to come in the new SDK as it isn't available for me through Apples developer program yet. Also, the Core Location framework still shows old version numbers.

I'm curious if there's a way now to determine the origin of the location data.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

AT&T collaborates with TeleNav to offer global navigation

AT&T is going to offer a global navigation service in collaboration with TeleNav. At present, TeleNavs products are available for BlackBerry devicesa only, but as AT&T is the iPhone carrier in the US, the likelihood of an iPhone version increases.

The new service is going to "take advantage of supporting smart phones greater memory, data storage and overall processing power". Do I sense an offline version to avoid data roaming when traveling abroad?
They also say that "AT&T will certainly expand the offer to other devices in the future" which could include the iPhone.

[Update] No 3G and GPS at the same time?

According to iPhone Atlas, several users have reported problems about usage of 3G and GPS at the same time. This might be an issue espechially for applications like Maps that use GPS and 3G radio at the same time. Still, it seems a bit odd that GPS and 3G cancel each other out while EDGE and GPS will work anyway?

Let's have a look at the situation. First of all, Apple put the GPS antenna at the top edge of the phone and the GSM/UMTS antenna at the bottom, placing both as far away from each other as one could. This is a good idea and it seems that the fault isn't by layout design.

As EDGE is an enhancement to GSM, we should have a look at all the frequencies involved. That are GSM, UMTS and GPS frequencies.
Apples site states UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz) and GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz). GPS frequencies are 1575,42 and 1227,60 MHz. So much for the obvious.

But wait! UMTS isn't just 2100 MHz! This is just a "label" for the frequence band used to run UTMS. As UTMS uses bi-directional communication, there is an uplink and a downlink involved, both running on different frequence bands. These are 1920 to 1980 MHz for the up- and 2110 to 2170 MHz for the downlink.

I played around a bit with that numbers above, but I coudn't find a overtone common to both UTMS 2,1 GHz band and GPS. Given this and the UMTS transmitting power of a maximum of 0.25 Watts (GSM has a maximum of 2 Watts!), it seems quite a bit unlikely that UMTS interferes with GSM...
The GPS chipset and the UMTS chipset and amplifiers are situated at opposite edges of the logic board (which also makes sense, considering the position of the antennas), so...?

Well, considering the following quote and the facts listed above, it clearly seems to be some sort of software related bug.
"Readers have reported, however, that turning 3G networking off, pegging a location, then turning 3G back on results in persistence of the accurate results."
Or, to put it the other way round, it seems that the issue isn't related to hardware in any way.

We'll see if firmware version 2.0.1 fixes this, which, according to rumors, might be around the second week of August.

[Update] Well, I just tested my iPhone using UMTS and GPS at the same time. I had an UMTS connection with almost full level and started Maps. Almost in an instant I had a GPS fix. So, whatever issue causes problems on other iPhones 3G, it is no deal on mine...
Lucky me, I'd say ;-)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

App Store everything but smooth

PosiMotion recently reported that their G-Spot has been updated to version 1.1. Anyway, in App Store, all you get is version 1.0.
G-Park is available in version 1.1 (also in App Store), but you won't get any updates through iTunes.
Doesn't look like working as intended to me...

Speaking of iTunes: this morning, the App Store on my iPhone didn't report any programs to be updated (and I don't remember that it was the case at any time in the last few days). In iTunes itself, there was a whole bunch of apps that offered an update. Why not on the iPhone client?!?

It seems that Apples new services (like App Store) run everything but smooth at the moment. Have a look at Mobile Me for example.

Well, at the moment, we can't do anything else but wait, but I still hope the waiting will end soon ;-)

Geopher Lite brings geocaching to iPhone 3G [Update]

Geopher Lite is a geocaching application for the iPhone. It can connect to geocaching.com in order to select a cache location nearby.

While I don't do anything related to geocaching, I find the programs website, which actually is a blog, very interesting as it unveils a bit of the process of making an application available in App Store, so go and have a look!

Geopher Lite costs 2,99 Euros. The developer also plans features like GPX file handling for future versions.

[Update] I had a look at the Geopher Lite blog. The Application was submitted on July 9th and became available online today, two weeks later.
I can't tell wether this was fast or not, but given the fact that the deadline for App Store submission was July 7th, maybe there are still some (awesome?) applications waiting for approval?

G-Park 1.1 available

The latest G-Park update to 1.1 is available since a few hours. What puzzled me is the fact that the update is not available trough the update feature in the iPhones App Store application. I had to update it trough iTunes.

I did not have the opportunity to test it yet, so stay put for a short report.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"Things I dislike about the iPhone: missing car nav"

Yeah, right. It is the iPhone's fault, that there isn't a car navigation yet... This is like comparing apples and oranges (pun intended).

Wake up! The iPhone is a piece of hardware running a certain OS. It doesn't become worse because a certain software isn't available (yet).

I really had it with that people who don't seem to look even at the surface. Like all those who report about "iPhone killers". It takes more than one swallow to make a summer, and to make an iPhone it definitively takes more than a touchscreen!

I'm curious how many people will nag on launch of Android because there is no turn-by-turn navigation ready... :->

TeleNav made a boo boo.

Well, it seems that TeleNav might not be the best choice for european customers. The website is obviously a bit strange because of some translation errors you might not expect from a "global player".
But that is not the whole story. Recently, I invoked the european support of TeleNav to get some additional information about their (BlackBerry) product.

Well. The mail bounced. There is a mail address reading eusupport@telenav.com which failed to deliver. It looks like a general address, not a country specific one, so I think this is a general issue.

Maybe, they're just too busy bringing their app to the iPhone? ;-) Just kidding...

GPS not working after a few days?

Arstechnica reports location based services will stop to work after a few days of iPhone uptime.

I have to admit that I restart my iPhone almost every day - for several reasons ;-) So, I can neither confirm nor deny that at this time...
Maybe I can leave my iPhone turned on for a while... but somehow, I doubt that ;-)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Yet another look at the iPhones GPS antenna...

...and other hardware related GPS issues came from Adrian Kingsley-Hughes in ZDnets hardware blog.

As he doesn't write anything that sounds new to regular readers of my blog ;-)) there are also some nice close-up pictures and citings of Apple representatives... so go ahead and have a look!

The last first impression

Actually, I wanted to do this last week, Friday, June 11th. Unfortunately, it took PosiMotion a whole week to publish their G-Spot. Anyway, it is available now and I had a closer look to it. To be precise, I had a close look about what the location provider provides, not what G-Spot does.

I startet the application inside the house. This didn't just give me the usual cell tower based location with an imprecision of 1799 meters, but also another funny bearing of somewhere around 77° N, 12something° W with an imprecision of 5000 meters.
This is an interesting issue, as Google Maps on my other cell phone sometimes does the same when I try to determine my position by not using GPS (the only difference was that with Google Maps I was supposed to be somewhere off the russian coast, just nordwest of Japan).
I wonder how this can happen anyway. The cell phone can "see" several BTS at a time, all identifying themselves with several parameters, including MCC and MNC. How could anyone ever think that there might be a BTS with MCC 262 right in the middle of the arctic ocean?

Being outside, a 3D GPS fix could be acquired really fast, so the download of the latest almanach seems to work (and also to speed up acquiring satellites, as it is supposed to be).
While travelling, accuracy readings kept jumping between 47 and 17 meters, when going real slow (like in a jam) even 9 meters of accuracy were reached. Those readings are a little disturbing, because usually you should get readings in between.
Unfortunately, I don't know how G-Spot works internally, so I don't know if they just took "raw" accuracy readings or not.

If you want me to investigate further, just donate $99 to me so that I can get an appropriate SDK license to.... just kidding ;-)

47 meters is bad, real bad. 17 meters might be okay for road navigation, but you have to do some tricks, so I'm still curious how (good) TeleNav will solve this problem. Nine meters would be okay, but only if you had that accuracy all the time.

Which leads me to another assumption: I don't think that WAAS (or EGNOS resp.) is enabled because of power consumption. There might be other power saving technologies used that degrade accuracy as well.
Unfortunately, I don't have an answer to my inqiry to Infineon yet, so that I don't know what the chipset is capable of. Perhaps, it can't even use WAAS?

G-Spot finally available

PosiMotions G-Spot is finally available trough App Store. I have asked PosiMotion for the reason of the delay, because they claimed technical problems with Apples App Store, but there was no word on that.

With G-Spot, I finally can have a little closer look to things like the iPhones GPS accuracy (or to be more precise: the location providers accuracy...). More to come soon...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

TeleNav available in Europe!

Shame on me. I missed the european site of TeleNav. So, TeleNav already offers navigation services for Western Europe, from Norway to Greece (without Balkans) and from Portugal to Austria.
TeleNav offers its services in Europe for BlackBerry devices only at this time. The software itself isn't charged, but to use it, you have to buy a license, ranging from a 3 months license for 27 Euros (9 Euro/month) to a 18 months license for 121,50 Euros (6,75 Euros/month).
A free trial period of 30 days is offered.

Map coverage seems OK, although the map preview doesn't show things like one way roads, so that I can't determine too much details by just looking at the maps.

Although TeleNav might work well with the iPhones data plan or even using WiFi, one fact leaves a bad taste in my mouth: what about holidays? Either, you use prohibitive data roaming or you just don't use TeleNav at all...

As I'm abroad on a regular base, I would prefer a road navigation solution that stores its map on the iPhone itself... We'll see, hopefully in the near future ;)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

DMN Tech Team claim Garmin on iPhone

Dallas Morning News' Jim Rossman recently stated that also Garmin had plans about bringing navigation software to the iPhone. He also said that the tracking was "very accurate ... as I drive". Well, it isn't. Maybe he is also wrong about Garmin?

First about that "very accurate" GPS inside the iPhone. The blue spot he talks about can be seen in the Maps application only. So far, no other navigation software like this is known.
That spot is only "accurate" because a technique is used that snaps the dot to the road and follows it. Ever made a turn?
Also, the latency is much higher than anything else I ever used that could display a map (but I will do a comparison some time in the near future).

Then about Garmins plans on the iPhone. Why should they compromise their own plans about the nüvifone by developing navigation software for their direct competitor? At least, doesn't make any sense to me...

So, no Garmin on iPhone in my opinion. But I'm waiting for Jims answer to my email ;-)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

GPS - So where's the antenna?

"Normal" GPS devices usually feature either antennas that look like ceramic squares or like a helix. Square antennas are intended for horizontal reception while helix types respectively work in an upright position. Have a look at the pictures and you will figure out.

Those antennas are well for use in navigation only devices like those manufactured by Garmin or TomTom where space is not a so big matter, but obviously they're too big to fit inside a small device like a PDA or cell phone.

I had a look at some mobile devices like PDAs and mobiles in order to figure out how a GPS antenna might look like. I searched a bit and found out that the GPS antenna might look like this. Or like this. Or even like that. To make it short: it could look like anything.

So what now. Having a look into my brand new iPhone? Fortunately, those brave guys from ifixit and rapid repair already dismantled an iPhone 3G, so I didn't have to destroy mine ;-)

Have a look at the PCB layout and how the ICs are positioned on it. You will find an explanation in techonlines "under the hood"-article. As you can see, the GPS chip from Infineon is situated in the vincinity of the SIM slot, just left of it. So, if you hold the phone in the normal upright position, the chip is almost where the upper left corner of your screen is.

So, it seems obvious that it would be a good idea to have the antenna placed right next to it instead of routing the GPS signal across the whole PCB. And there it is!

Have a look at the rapid repair site. As the screws are at the bottom of the iPhone, it is opened from bottom to top. At the top left of the iPhone (after lifting the top cover and the display, look at the picture of step 5), a sticker with a 6 printed on it ca be seen.
According to David Carey from Portelligent, this is the GPS antenna! It can be seen well in rapid repairs step 14 picture.

Given the fact that this is the GPS antenna, reception quality is fairly ok in my opinion. Be the GPS chipset as good as it may, with that funny piece (sorry) of antenna, no better reception quality can be expected.

Which leads to another issue. Given the fact that the antenna is situated in the upper left corner of the housing, (car) navigation apps that use landscape mode should have the iPhone rotated so that the home button is on the left, not on the right!
So, like this would be okay, like that not. In reality, that doesn't have to make a difference, but I think one shouldn't take chances. In the end, best thing would be to have the choice by rotating the device 180 degrees. If this wasn't for GPS reception, at least you can improve cable handling ;)

TeleNav car navigation is "America only"

Recently it was announced that car navigation will come to the iPhone 3G soon. This sounds good, but has a major flaw: maps are available for the north american continent only. So lucky you if you live in the U.S., Canada or Mexico. Everywhere else, TeleNav seems pretty useless...

So TomTom, what about you guys? ;-)

Monday, July 14, 2008

GPS under the hood (of the SDK)

I had a look of what the iPhones SDK offers in terms of GPS. I found it a bit interesting, that you will get accuracy alongside positional info, but there is no flag that would report the origin of the data.
This means, that you won't be able to know if you just received an accurate GPS bearing or just a kind of cellular based triangulation "guess". Also, this implies that you can't choose if you want GPS data only upon initialization, although the chipset used would feature such functionality.

Sure, you can be almost sure, that an inaccuracy of 300 feet and more almost definitely means the data was collected by triangulation, just as well as an inaccuracy of 30 feet and below means that you got GPS positional info. But - you cannot be sure about that.

However, upon defining the interface (trough creating the corresponding instance), you can request a certain level of accuracy, thus being sort of able to "filter" any positional data gained by triangulation.

There is another interesting fact. Usually, you get an update of you location e.g. every second (at least a device providing NMEA data, like a Garmin GPS receiver or an external bluetooth device would do so). On the iPhone, you can provide a distance threshold, meaning you would receive a update event if the location changes more than the threshold distance.

NO(!) Broadcom GPS inside iPhone!

According to iFixit, the guys who always do a great job in disassembling and explaining Apple hardware, the iPhone 3G does NOT feature the Broadcom chipset mentioned before. This comes as a surprise, as also Business Week confirmed the Broadcom A-GPS to be inside the iPhone.

Instead, the iPhone was equipped with an Infineon Hammerhead II PMB 2525 chipset. Beside being from an other manufacturer, the Hammerhead II features basically the same as the firstly assumed Broadcomm, including "standalone" mode (which doesn't seem to work in iPhone 3G) and -160 dBm sensitivity, which should make it more sensitive than a SiRF III, but doesn't.

I'm curious where the antenna was hidden... let's just hope the guys from iFixit will discover it soon ;)

"GPS with cellular network only" no Maps issue

So, G-Park is released. I tested it with flight mode. First, I was surprised, because it seemed to work! Then I knew why... the program just used "something" to determine where I was.
For me, it looked much like cell tower triangulation, so I guess even in flight mode the iPhone still can receive cellular signals (but not send them).
Anyway, it seems that without cellular connection, you are just f***ed. :-(

PosiMotions G-Park available trough App Store

PosiMotions first application available in App Store is G-Park. It should help you finding your car in a big parking lot. When returning to your car, it directs you there by the Maps application. Price is 0.99 US$.

G-Spot is yet to come... (ouch *g*)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Maps hit the road

I just used Maps App in the car. It could be seen that Maps uses a technique to snap your local position to the road you are traveling on at that time, causing the GPS spot to seem a bit confused somtimes ;-)
Besides, either display or map update seem very slow, because if you are at a turn you should take, Maps will display it a second or two later.

Considering this alongside with the fact that you don't get no voice directions, Maps is useless for realtime car navigation (although it still can be an aid if you already know where you're going).

iPhones GPS: what it does, what it doesn't. [Update]

So, I tested the iPhones GPS. To make a long story short: doesn't work without cellular connection, is less sensitive than SiRF III.

To make it long again: I fumbled around with the GPS a bit. To compare results, I also used my Nokia E61i together with a Bluetooth SiRF III chipset based receiver and Google Maps.


iPhone and "Generic SiRF III" compared

Take a look at the picture. The accuracy seems quite acceptable, however, the inaccuracy on the iPhone is a bit higher (note that blue "circle of inaccuracy" that reaches beyond the yellow road while on the right it just touches it).

Beside of the accuracy, the sensitivity seems quite bad compared to the SiRF III. This is a bit surprising, compared to the specs of the Broadcomm chipset that is assumed to be inside the iPhone. I had to go on my balcony in order to get GPS positional info on the iPhone. As soon as I left the balcony, GPS positional info was lost. At that time, the SiRF III still receives positional info.

To make things worse, it seems that iPhones GPS won't work without a cellular connection. This might be an issue that is related to the Google Maps software, but still is a disturbing issue.
First of all, I put my iPhone to flight mode before using Google Maps. Then I started Google Maps and hit that crosshair button on the lower left. The spinner showed up, but nothing else happened.
After turning off flight mode, I almost immediately got positional info relating on cellphone towers and a moment later even a GPS position. So I turned on flight mode again. The GPS dot showed up in Maps, but it went grey.

As I didn't exactly know if the GPS worked in flight mode, I power clycled the phone, this time leaving the SIM locked. Again, the spinner spun but nothing else happened. Unlock the sim and GPS works.

There might be a third option, just having no cellular connection but still clear view of the skies. Unfortunately, I don't know where I could go to test that, because you get a cellular connection virtually "everywhere" ;)

But still, I'm strongly convinced that GPS will work with a cellular connection only. This leaves another question (and also a bad taste): What about roaming?

Update: I just put an other SIM module that isn't meant to work in the iPhone, so it wasn't able to log on to the cellular network (but, of course, still can scan its vincinity for cellular base stations and determine its parameters like BC, CI, LA and so on).
Still, I was able to use GPS! So, at least, you don't have to have an active cellular connection.
I'm still wondering where I could find a place without any cellular reception but clear view of the skies ;-))

GPS worse than expected? Is it?

Jalopnik reports, that the iPhones 3G GPS was "worse than expected". Well, I don't think that this is true, although I didn't have the time yet to test the iPhones GPS functionality thoroughly. What I can say at this time is that the hardware embedded is supposed to be quite fine and my tests in the car yesterday were quite promising.
Besides, car naviation also is announced, so who would do so, if it didn't work?

"Car navigation" coming to iPhone

everythingiCafe reports that TeleNav will bring a "car navigation" suite with turn-by-turn-directions and voice directions and all that other fancy stuff you will get e.g. from Garmins nüvi or TomTom devices.

So, it seems that the SDKs legal agreement is not the problem, or is it? TomTom, we are waiting for you!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

App Store experiencing technical probs?

PosiMotions G-Spot seems still unavailable trough App Store. It seems as if App Store experiences technical problems at the moment. At least, this is what PosiMotion says. So, the release date for G-Spot is not 11th of July any more but "soon".

Well, maybe there will be more interesting navigation apps. "Soon".

Friday, July 11, 2008

First impressions

Well, I received my iPhone about 6 hours ago. Since then, I was able to play around a bit with its GPS receiver. Unfortunately, there was only Google Maps, because no other GPS (mapping) application was available.
I'll do some closer tests tomorrow, but here are my first impressions:

It seems as it is a bit harder for the iPhone to get a fix in my living room, where my Garmin GPSmap or my bluetooth GPS receiver don't have problems. But approaching a window a bit will lead to a fix very soon...
Accuracy is displayed by a blue shaded circle that noticeable grows larger while moving away. Looks nice :)

So, first impression is "is okay, might have been better?"

It's alive!

Well, it seems as if the App Store is everything but static at the moment. For example, some applications have been added in the navigation section that weren't there yesterday.

So, I'm still confident that PosiMotion apps will be found until 11:59 PM today ;-)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

App Store is open!

Yes, it indeed ist. But now, what about GPS?

There is a "navigation" section in the App Store. But what's in it?

Well, to tell the truth: it looks... spartan. All you get is some public transport network stuff and GPS based POI finders. That's basically it.

Most obviously, PosiMotion didn't make it in time :-(

Rumors about App Store launching today

There are rumors that App Store might launch today, one day before the official launch of iPhone 3G. The launch ist said to be on 9:00 AM PST (which corresponds to 18:00 MESZ).

Still, no information on what's coming up is available, so we'll have to wait, at least 9 hours or even until tomorrow?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Will App Store launch early?

There are some rumors that say that the App Store might launch even before Friday this week. If so, this would also mean that the iPod/iPhone Software 2.0 would have to be released before Friday...
Beside this, more and more information is leaking about what's to come in the App Store, as more and more developers already announce their apps.

PosiMotion offers funny named GPS apps

PosiMotion will offer some GPS applications with funny names, like G-Spot. Yep, no kidding.
G-Spot offers a compass functionality and will display your GPS-Coordinates, presumably WGS84, as well as height etc.
G-Park looks like a tracklogging app that will help to find your car in a parking lot.

Tuaw reports that the apps will cost $1,99.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Wary approach to iPhone Nav Development

Forbes reports that developers are wary about developing nav apps for the iPhone. Even TomTom says that they don't have any plans to offer their navigation app on the iPhone on a commercial base. Small wonder, considering the SDKs agreement.

Still, there is no iPhone and we still don't really know what's what.

Apple's deadline for AppStore submissions ends today. Perhaps, we'll be lucky enough to get some details before Friday. Who knows? ;)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Will GPS on the iPhone work without a mobile network?

As we know so far, the iPhone 3G will be equipped with a so-called A-GPS receiver. In general, this is a good idea, because assisted GPS enhances the performance of a regular GPS receiver.

But there are sources (Wikipedia, arstechnica) that claim that there are some solutions that won't work at all without being connected to the assistance server. So, will the iPhone's GPS work without a network?

I say: yes, it will! Assuming, the iPhone uses Broadcom's BCM4750 single chip solution, it is very likely it will, because the chip offers an "autonomous" mode that needs "no assistance by network". So, as long as no one messes around on the software backend, the iPhone's GPS should work fine without being connected...

Yet another insight on TomTom (and others) on the iPhone

I have recently found an article in the iStockAnalyst that, again, makes a few points clear about the SDKs license terms.
Yet again, reasons for Apple having included paragraphs 3.3.7 and 3.3.9 into the SDK terms and also reasons why this might not bother TomTom are brought up.
To make a long story short: Apple tries to protect itself from being accused by anything GPS related that might come up. And yet again, why should TomTom not be able to negotiate their own agreements with Apple?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Business Week confirms Broadcom GPS chipset to be inside iPhone

Business Week recently confirmed some of the new components being used in the 3G iPhone. One of them will be a Broadcom GPS chipset. Although Business Week does not mention the exact type of chip, it seems likely that it will be the BCM4750 mentioned before.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Yet another hint 'pro' 3rd party GPS apps

Have a look at the iPhone 3G App Store preview. It reads "These applications have been designed to take advantage of iPhone technologies such as Multi-Touch, the accelerometer, wireless, and GPS."

Well, how could Apple forbid GPS apps on the iPhone on the one hand and then on the other offer GPS apps through App Store?

Well, unfortunately, we still have to wait another three weeks until we will possibly know ;-)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ray of hope for 3rd party GPS

According to the Dallas News Tech Blog, it seems reasonable that depending on interpretation, 3rd party companys still may publish applications for navigation on the iPhone.

GPS Business News indeed has very reasonable arguments for having navigation apps being developed on the iPhone (or why else should you be able to choose "navigation" on your intents as a developer?).

As Google Maps has similar restrictions, maybe they just added the restriction in order not to get in conflict with google?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Unnamed GPS Manufacturer Scared Of iPhone GPS

Well, this article is kind of funny. Why should one be scared by something that already existed? GPS enabled Phones like the Nokia N95 or N82 are available, the N95 for over a year now.

And, with recent news, it seems that Apple put some nice obstacles in the ways of those who are to develop navigation apps on the iPhone... so nothing to be scared about. Unfortunately :-(

iPhone 3G features Broadcom GPS Chipset

According to gigaom, it seems very likely that the new iPhone features a Broadcom chipset for its GPS capabilities. As this is the only AGPS solution offered by Broadcom, the BCM4750 seems to be the chipset that is built into the iPhone.

The Broadcom chipset offers up to -157 dbm assisted acquisition and -162 dbm tracking sensitivity, outnumbering the SiRF III chipset with -155 dbm resp. -159 dbm.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Innawork's alcheMo ports J2ME to iPhone

Innawork has developed a software solution that has the ability to port J2ME to native iPhone code. It is called alcheMo. According to alcheMo's technology, an application can be ported to iPhone using the Java codebase.

At the moment, the beta program is over and there will be a commercial release. The likelihood of a free version is rather low, but we'll see what's coming up.

Setback for TomTom (and other 3rd party GPS soft.)

According to arstechnica, the iPhone's SDK agreements limits the use of GPS. This might sound like a drawback at first, but in the end one has to realize that most likely nearly all applications have to run using a "jailbreaked" iPhone (because they won't be approved by Apple).

I don't think that access to the phone's GPS device will be restricted by any other means than some agreement ;-)

So, as bad as it seems for TomTom, I still have faith that someone still will develop some great navigation apps ;)

Sun enables Java on iPhones

Arstechnica reports that Sun is going to release a Java virtual machine for the iPhone in summer 2008.

If this Java virtual machine included JSR-179 (location provider API) and JSR-75 (file system access API) that would enable the iPhone to run fine applications such as TrekBuddy.

TomTom announces app. for iPhone 3G

This monday, Reuters reports that TomTom already has a version of its navigation software running on the iPhone and plans to sell it to customers.

Let's just hope the pricing will be reasonable, because Google Maps (that is shipped with the iPhone) may be nice, but is pointless on onroad navigation and depends on an internet connection, making it also useless abroad.

You can find the whole article right here.

Welcome

Hi there! ;)

This blog is intended to report everything interesting about the new iPhone 3G and its GPS functionality.

The main reason I started this blog is to have sort of a link list to everything that is interesting to me about using GPS on the new iPhone, but hey, why shouldn't it be useful to you, too?

So, basically, have fun ;)

xGPS - open Project enables GPS on iPhone

...and iPod Touch.

The guys from xGPS did an interesting job enabling GPS on a first generation iPhone (altough one has to admit that the hardware looks a bit creepy). ;-)

Still, they're going the right way. I just hope that they won't drop everything after the iPhone 3G already includes basically the same functionality.

I'm looking forwart to tracklogging 'n stuff on the iPhone ;-)