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 GPS on the Apple iPhone and iPad -
 State of GPS on iOS in 2012?
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230 Posts

Posted - 02 mai 2012 :  16:01:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I purchased a used Garmin 775 last year for a trip to Sicily. Updated the maps a couple of times with the free up to date policy.

Now, I'm looking at another upcoming trip and looked at the map update options. It would be like $120 to buy lifetime maps for Europe and North America.

But I'm wondering if the money wouldn't be better spent for an iOS solution (even if it would be more money with the mounting). A lot of the threads here haven't been updated in months so wondering if there have been any major changes.

It looks like all the turn-by-turn apps. include map updates and some things like Google Local Search which my Garmin doesn't have.

So I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of buying new maps or going with an iOS approach, though I have not yet tried the latter:

Pros for Garmin:

1. Dedicated unit with larger screen than iPhone 4, already have a mounting solution (bean bag).
2. Some level of customization, with the ability to send destinations from Google Maps to the unit as Favorites (through the browser plugin).
3. Well-supported both by company and by community.

Cons for Garmin:

1. Sluggish, poor UI.
2. The software for updating maps, customizing maps (Base Camp), at least on the Mac, also has poor UI and the process is cumbersome. For instance, you can send a bunch of destinations to the Garmin to save as Favorites, using either Base Camp or sending locations from found Google Map searches. Then you have to boot up the Garmin, set the location for that destination (which is usually on another continent for me) and then scroll around to see if the Favorites were sent accurately. All of this is time-consuming too.

Pros for iOS:

1. Apps. come with free map updates and should use a multitouch UI with more processing power available than on a dedicated PND.
2. Potentially smoother and better UI, with potential features from connectivity when available.

Cons for iOS:

1. No universally good mounting options. Looks like there haven't been any new GPS car kits which have come out since the TomTom, Magellan and one or two others.

2. Power consumption/charging and multitasking sound less than ideal. One reason I got the 775 was the ability to play MP3s and go between playback and turn directions smoothly. Not sure this is as reliable on iOS with the limited multitasking?

3. Any ability to send navigation info from computer to the GPS app? Doesn't sound like there's anything like Base Camp to pre-search POIs or send destinations from researching/planning trip to pre-populate things like Favorites or routes.

4. No community or crowd source content? I haven't done it with Garmin but my understanding is that there are custom POIs of things like speed cameras available for Garmin. Haven't heard of similar things for iOS turn-by-turn apps.



230 Posts

Posted - 03 mai 2012 :  10:29:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There are some indications that map updates will not be included for free with app updates.

iTunes description for Navigon refers to a "Latest Maps Guarantee" but then in the next paragraph describes the in-app purchase option of Fresh Maps XL.

From looking around, Garmin, which acquired Navigon, has said 3 years for their iOS apps.

TomTom description doesn't mention a limit and there is no in-app maps option.

I don't know how big of a business map updates are for these companies but maybe they realized they can't just give maps away indefinitely? Especially since as people upgrade their devices, they get to keep their apps whereas with PNDs, eventually they break and people have to buy new ones?
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94688 Posts

Posted - 04 mai 2012 :  09:00:17  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Navigon v2 for iOS did introduce a subscription model for map updates, yes, and that makes sense. TomTom are in a slightly different position since the TeleAtlas maps they use are one of their branches. Navigon also introduced a clever OTA "by country" map download, which is much better than TomTom's 2+GB continental download.

Not sure what you mean by PNDs breaking, out of the dozens I've used only one ever broke and that's because it fell and someone walked on its screen that got cracked as a result. If anything smartphone's are more prone to accidents and have a shorter lifespan as they get outdated rather quicker. In your case since you have the 775 just keep on using it and update the maps when you start getting too many errors, that could take several years in my experience.

As for the "state of GPS on iOS", not much has changed since the last posts in the respective topics really...hence the lack of many recent posts. TomTom and Navigon have added some "social" features, but frankly this is more "nice" than "need" and I doubt very may people use them.

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Enrique Muyshondt

409 Posts

Posted - 04 mai 2012 :  17:54:20  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I prefer to use my iOS devices for car navigation because that way I don't have to carry other devices with me. I have the iPhone with me at all times and it is always charged and ready to go. I also have an iPad and one purchase covers both. While a slightly bigger screen would be nice, I find the iPhone still adequate and worth the trade off compared to having to carry around another set of cables and yet another device.

I currently use Navigon and have been pleased with it. They have updated the maps when they update the app, but if you want more regular updates, you need the FreshMapsXL subscription. I haven't needed it, but I am not opposed to this, because I am OK with funding their continued development of the app and maintenance of the data. FreshMapsXL North America cost $19.99/yr. European ones cost $37.99.

I don't do much pre-planning on my navigation device so I can't comment about sending data to the phone.

I update my iOS devices over time and not just for navigation purposes. Thus the update process from a navigation point of view is free. The apps have always worked for the newer devices and get updated if they don't. Apps also add new features over time and can even alter the whole user interface, if really needed. Dedicated units become outdated rather quickly and usually don't get much functionality added. Only maps get updated. For my uses, they don't offer any more features than what I get with my iDevices so I haven't had a single compelling reason to use a dedicated device. A dedicated TomTom device doesn't seem to offer anything more than the app on the iPhone. I don't use a Garmin app, so can't comment on it. Does a Garmin lifetime subscription to maps carry over to new devices you might purchase to update your unit or is it only for the specified model that you have?

You can play music and use navigation at the same time. Navigon offers an interface to control your music playback while you are navigating. I don't use this feature much, but it seems to work well the couple of times I've tried it.

I always plug in my phone for longer trips so any power consumption issues don't much matter to me. I do find I get a few hours of navigation from a fully charged phone. I plug it in because even without navigation I need to be sure my phone doesn't run out of battery.

Now I only use pretty basic navigation functions. I look up built-in POI's or through Google, or I know the address where I am going. I don't try to plan very complex multi-stop trips ahead of time. I don't expect the app/device to optimize the order of my stops. I find that it would take me longer to sit at my computer setting all this up than to just enter my next stop in the GPS or navigation app. Other's may have more complex requirements than I do and perhaps a dedicated unit will fit those needs better.

I do travel both in Europe and the US and I prefer to have a common user interface for both regions. I also want to have on-board maps because of horrible roaming charges for off-board solutions and because of spotty data coverage outside large metropolitan areas.
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230 Posts

Posted - 04 mai 2012 :  18:08:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yeah I've never had a PND break but people talk about it on this and other forums.

Of course phones are packed more tightly and are carried around all the time, which gives it more chances to break.

A couple of reasons why it might be worth the expense now:

1. I wouldn't have to pack the PND for my trip, not to mention the unwieldy cables and the beanbag mount. Though maybe not the best idea to rely completely on an app. for the first time. I've taken trips to Europe without using a map, just relying on the Garmin.

2. I would be curious if TeleAtlas maps and POIs are better than Navteq for Europe. The Garmins I've used has taken me on some very strange routes, like real narrow mountain roads where there's only room for one car to occupy the road so if a car is coming from the opposite direction, one is going to have to back up, because there was no shoulder to speak of (in fact in many places, it was a steep drop)

The time and distance estimates were also off, in the mountain villages north of the Cote d'Azur. For instance, if you put in a location, it would give you distance and ETA if you could fly. When you actually started navigating, the distance would recalculate to account for all the winding roads.

The POIs were pretty lacking too, like it didn't have Carrefour near Nice, for example. This was 5 years ago.

All that said, I will probably hold off and use the Garmin. I want to see what the next round of devices bring. Maybe iPhone with larger screen or iPad with smaller screen.

Not to mention more capable Android tablets becoming cheaper, such as the Galaxy Tab 2 which just came out at $250 and the Asus Tegra 3 tablet which is suppose to be $250 as well as the rumored Nexus Tablet.

Even Galaxy Nexus unlocked at $400 might be an interesting choice (though I'm not sure the SAMOLED screed does on the dash with the sun beating down on it).

A lot of people seem to like Google Navigation better than their PNDs, though a data connection seems to be necessary.

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Enrique Muyshondt

409 Posts

Posted - 16 mai 2012 :  07:54:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Regarding iOS vs. Android, I would look at the apps I want to use and choose my platform based on that. I find iOS apps more polished than similar Android apps. I also use apps for things like flight navigation on my plane and apps for that are orders of magnitude better on iOS. There are also more choices for good apps of this kind.

At this point, the specs of the hardware and the operating system are not very relevant to me. It is the apps that matter the most. I have played with a few Android devices, and while they seems to work OK, none have been as smooth as the iOS devices I've used. I don't care to jailbreak or root my devices. I just want them to work well out of the box.
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94688 Posts

Posted - 15 juin 2012 :  12:01:51  Show Profile  Visit gpspassion's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Some interesting news concerning GPS on iOS this week ->

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