Apple reportedly - and quietly - purchased a Google Maps competitor two months ago, and has absorbed its founder into the mothership at One Infinite Loop. Or so deduces Seth Weintraub over at Computerworld, who turned a July Tweet and a current LinkedIn profile into convincing evidence that Apple has acquired map-tech maker …
Why is the compass feature "otherwise-silly"? Simply adding the ability to orientate a map in the direction you are facing justifies its addition to the iPhone. Nothing silly about that.
Is the Reg author so unimaginative that he can't see the benefits of the compass? As already pointed out, having maps orient in the direction you're facing is a huge benefit. If you're into astronomy you'll appreciate being told which way to face to match up your screen's star chart. Or how about an app to help you find a friend at a big festival by pointing you in their direction?
Very Silly Compass
The same people who need a compass on a phone are probably still in denial about Clarks Commandos no longer being made. If you need one to tell you where your friends are then maybe they are hiding from you and the house brick iBling you are carrying.
The compass doesn't work
It gets confused in the mountains (large mountains with iron deposits no doubt) and other problems when close to iron. There needs to be a better way than a compass to orient a device.
I know that GPS isn't so accurate, but for a given location the inaccuracy is surely minimal? i.e. the clouds cause the signal to slow and hence the location to be mistimed from that satellite, yet surely the same error applies to each end of the iPhone because the two ends are very close together the signal must be travelling through the same clouds.
So perhaps you could do differential GPS, diffing the signals at top and bottom of the device to determine the orientation.
i.e. signal diff each satellite AGAINST the SAME satellite, thus determining the difference between each end of the device.
"The same people who need a compass on a phone are probably still in denial about Clarks Commandos no longer being made. If you need one to tell you where your friends are then maybe they are hiding from you and the house brick iBling you are carrying."
Pointless post. Sad. Very sad.
Back on topic, while Android might be doing well, I can't see Chrome OS becoming that huge a competitor to full-blown OSs. Apple are just ensuring that they don't rely on a competitor as part of their business.
No - Makes sense to me.
Apple are just doing what they do best - lock-in!! (Now with Skeletor in charge!!!)
Re: the compass doesn't work
"So perhaps you could do differential GPS, diffing the signals at top and bottom of the device to determine the orientation."
Yes you could do that. If the device was 1m wide (at best), 10m wide (realistically), 100m wide (at very worst).
The problem is that light travels very very very fast. And so the time difference is very very very small. For a metre, it's 1/299792458 of a second. It's very difficult to measure time that accurately in a device so small. Clocks naturally 'drift' in GPS receivers, compared to the atomic clocks keeping the satelites in check. This is the biggest margin of error in mass market GPS receivers. Not meaning to patronise, honestly :-)
Re: Very Silly Compass
"If you need one to tell you where your friends are then maybe they are hiding from you and the house brick iBling you are carrying."
Yeah coz it's easy to find people at Glastonbury, right? Or do you have no experience of looking for people outside of WoW?
Map tile license
Apple have stated before that they have special arrangements for licensing the map tile technology from Google - it should be noted that Apple, not Google, built the maps application for the iPhone.
From Apple's language in describing the license, it's reasonable to infer that the license allows restricted, perpetual use of map tiles within the iPhone app, but is not licensed for general use by Apple. As such they may be seeking to have their own solution that doesn't require negotiation with Google every time they build a new or update an existing application using maps.
Oh no , dont insult my apple
Oh no you have insulted my apple honour. how dare you reg.
What's wrong with a compass?
Sounds like some people here don't get out much. Try some serious walking in strange places with spotty cell coverage, deep gorges, etc. You might find the ability to use a map (remember them, dead trees and ink) and a compass (costs a couple of pounds) pretty useful. No batteries, no real financial loss if broken/misplaced/stolen,etc. The compass in the iPhone is a "nice to have" as well - hell, it's free, why not enjoy it, although I'll rely on pre steam-age technology for a while yet.
I suspect, being Apple they'll want their gear to do stuff you can't do on anyone elses (i.e. over and above Google Maps, which world+dog can use). Layering their own cool and special (and patent protected) stuff over the top of that, but only for Apple devices would make sense...
The irony is sooooo thick...
The author is writing an article about mapping and does not see the need for a compass!
"Try some serious walking in strange places with spotty cell coverage, deep gorges, etc."
I do a fair bit of off-road mountain biking and hiking and use my missus' iPhone for maps. No cell coverage? That's what offline maps are for. iPhone GPS not accurate enough? Plug in an external one. Batteries? With offline maps and WiFi, 3G turned off you can get a good 7+ hours out of it, and extend that with an external plug in battery pack.
Sure, a paper map and compass are more reliable but for a day's hike or ride the iPhone is brilliant :-)
looked at placebase.com
And its api... very similar to gmaps.
'Meh' is the only thing that springs to mind.
I expect Apple's version of streetview, instead of blurring faces, will create a jobsian world where all people are avatars wearing jeans, black turtle necks and glasses.