I’ll have more to say about location-aware iPhone applications once I’ve installed the 2.0 software update on my iPod touch and played with a couple of them. I won’t be able to say anything about the GPS on the iPhone 3G — with Rogers’s usurious rates in Canada, I won’t be getting one — but Engadget’s review of the iPhone 3G discusses the new phone’s GPS features, especially whether the iPhone can replace a car-based navigation system:
We were able to acquire GPS in as little as a second or two, although depending on your location and reception, you might see that take longer. It’s important to note, though, that the iPhone’s was clearly intended to be a location-aware smartphone — not a dedicated GPS device. There’s a big difference.
That said, there’s an enormous amount of interest by people hoping they can add one more to the pile of devices their iPhone has taken over for. It’s pretty clear why people might want the iPhone 3G to replace their car’s dedicated GPS nav, too. It’s not just a location-aware device with a large, bright screen — it’s also connected (with service you’re already paying for), thus able to get traffic updates, routing information, and so on. The Google Maps app doesn’t provide turn by turn route guidance, though, so while it does provide directions, you can only use it as a stand-in — and not as a full replacement — for a proper GPS device. This problem might be solved later by some intrepid 3rd party developer (like, say, TomTom or Telenav), but there’s been some confusion as to whether this might actually happen, and what Apple’s official stance on GPS nav actually is. And even if this GPS software does eventually come out, the speaker on the iPhone 3G simply won’t be loud enough to be heard over most road noise, so you’d also have to make use of a line-out. In other words, don’t sell your GPS device just yet, okay?
The review also has a couple of tidbits on Google Maps, EXIF data, and application permissions.