There are plenty of apps out there, both free and low-cost, that utilize the iPhone’s 3G’s GPS receiver. Unfortunately, none of ’em talk to you when that all-important left turn to Albuquerque is coming up. And if you’re navigating while driving — especially in a state that’ll ticket you for using your handheld anything while your car’s in motion — that’s a major deficit.
Turns out the "Big Three" of the GPS biz (TomTom, Garmin, and Magellan) have been futzing around with voice-based GPS apps for the iPhone. Just don’t expect to be able to buy one for at least three months.
According to a story on MSNBC, reps for the GPS companies were cautiously optomistic that a voice GPS system for the iPhone is an inevitability, but far from a dead certainty. TomTom admits "We have made our navigation system run on the iPhone; it looks good and works very well, [but] We will have to look more closely to Apple‚Äôs strategy before we can say
more about what kind of opportunities this will bring us." Garmin, on the other hand, offers a US$99/year package for smartphones like the Blackberry, but flatly states "[W]e don‚Äôt have any announcements regarding the iPhone at this time." And remember: any voice-GPS app would still have to get Apple’s blessing before it hit the retail outlet.
In the last year alone, GPS’s have now gotten cheap enough that not owning one makes no sense at all. (Ever struggled to spot your next turn while wrestling with six pages of Mapquest prinouts? I rest my case.) Meanwhile, some iPhone users are already eschewing in-car or standalone GPS’s, to reduce the need of one more electronic gadget to deal with. Clearly the demand for a voice-GPS app is out there — and whoever gets one to market the quickest will benefit the most.