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back to article Apple pulls in TomTom, kicks Google off iPhones

Buried among the data in Apple's new iOS is a win for TomTom, which will be providing the maps for iPhone-navigators. Apple is ditching Google Maps, as expected, and providing its own mapping service on its iWare, which will come from TomTom's TeleAtlas database. Eagle-eyed fanbois spotted the C of TomTom in screen grabs from …

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Meh

Well, there's another reason...

...to avoid the IdiotPhone, then. TTs maps are not, it must be said, the most up-to-date, really. The open Street Map (http://www.openstreetmap.org/) tends to be, though!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well, there's another reason...

Given the revenue stream from Apple that this will create I'm sure they'll be able to improve the maps. Not to mention lots of users submitting problems with the maps.

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"the most up-to-date". Really?

I've heard that OpenStreetMap is not much good in many parts of the world so I just looked at the map of a village in the south of France that I happen to know well. On the little square that I know best, OpenStreetMap shows a pedestrian street (with steps) as a road and, what's worse, it also shows a road that simply doesn't exist - there is a 5 metre high and 1 metre thick wall where the 'road' is supposed to start.

I think I'll stick to Google for the moment as Google Maps is correct. I've no idea about TomTom.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well, there's another reason...

Don't worry OP, Apple is using both TomTom and OpenStreetMaps (says so in the map credits)

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Re: Well, there's another reason...

OSM has been pretty useless every time I've used it. For years it didn't even have my road in it, and I lived next to the A13 in the middle of a town near a main-line train station. Nor did it have several of the adjoining roads - just one nearby one that someone had obviously driven down while mapping.

This is a road that's been there for many decades, most likely, has its own postcode, is on every satnav and online map I've ever tried and they didn't have a vector for it even existing on the map (not even just an unnamed vector from the associated map). It's there now but for years it just didn't exist on their map (I wasn't bothered about adding it because with such accuracy I just couldn't rely on OSM to actually do anything interesting anyway - certainly nothing that Google Maps didn't do a thousand times better).

Even now, there still a lot of missing information - it actually plots the contents of an obscure village in the middle of Italy better than it does my local town and I can't find my local schools or pub on it anywhere (and the maps suggest that it doesn't know about several roads, houses and other features in that same area - but hey! It's got electricity pylons mapped!).

I honestly can't see how anybody navigates by an OSM map on a regular basis. Sure, it's fine for casual use and it's no problem for a small local map ("Find Us" on a website kinda-thing), but in terms of actually finding somewhere (the postcode search appears completely flummoxed today, but I'm assuming that's just a glitch), locating it using local landmarks, or even finding a particular pub, school or whatever, it's next-to-useless.

By comparison, a TomTom IQ Routes Europe 2Gb map that I refused to update since even before TomTom put in their "now you have to change the map every time you change country while driving through Europe" policy (at least 2-3 years now, probably a lot more) has very minor errors on it (due to new road layouts), has one roundabout that it likes to send you in circles upon (go around the roundabout, go around the roundabout, go around the roundabout, ....) but for which the mapping is correct, and hasn't failed to look up a postcode even in the Highlands or Cornwall and get me to it. I drive 500 miles a week and it's invaluable. Hell, even Google's Navigation app for Andriod does a stupidly good job at things that OSM fails at miserably and that's free (but it does often disagree about the best route with my TomTom but I know from experience the difference is a matter of seconds).

I'm not saying TomTom are perfect either (hell, I'm not buying any more of their devices until this current one dies and they put out models with some kind of map availability guarantee), but OSM are significantly worse. I'd put them at the bottom of the list of any mapping effort, below even things like Google's free apps.

I truly support the "make it ourselves" open-source philosophy of OSM but in terms of actual data, it's still lacking despite a lot of hefty data donations by entire nations. And there just aren't enough users mapping to keep it anywhere near up-to-date.

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FAIL

Re: Well, there's another reason...

Just checked openstreetmap where I live, both street names and geographical features near me are way off.

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Ru

Re: Well, there's another reason...

OSM coverage is a bit luck-of-the-draw. Some areas are mapped with extremely impressive levels of detail, far more so than any commercial mapping service (my local town has better OSM coverage than OS, and the Ordance Survey seem to make some of the best easily available maps in the world).

Most places however just don't have the density of frequency of contributors, and as can be seen from the preceding comments not many people feel like contributing their time and effort towards improving things, making it a less than brilliant choice for a company who can afford to buy whatever they like.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Well, there's another reason...

Probably not related but I found with one implementation of OSM in a mobile app that it displayed not road names ("Blueblue Crescent") but road reference numbers (C12354) which is what the local council used for tracking maintenance etc.

the latter (needless to say?) existed nowhere in common use outside the local transport and planning department and made following the apps instructions rather tricky.

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Re: Well, there's another reason...

I've also found Google Maps to be pretty useless. I had to map a couple of hundred addresses for on customer and it got about 10% wrong, one was even put on the wrong continent, despite having a UK post code!

I then tried using them to find the hotel I was going to stay at and the office I had to go to when visiting a client site. It got both wrong by about 1 or 2 km, which is hopeless in a big city!

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FAIL

Re: "the most up-to-date". Really?

On the little square that I know best, OpenStreetMap shows a pedestrian street (with steps) as a road and, what's worse, it also shows a road that simply doesn't exist - there is a 5 metre high and 1 metre thick wall where the 'road' is supposed to start.

So why don't you fix it?

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Linux

Re: "the most up-to-date". Really?

I dunno. I think you need to treat any mapping service with some degree of skepticism. Examples of every service screwing up abound. The criticisms that Tom Tom tries to lay on OSM are true for ANY mapping service. You just have to keep your wits generally and know better than to blindly trust the computer.

YMMV. Seek out the best option for your particular circumstances. Don't be afraid to dump you chosen option if need be.

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steve_sims7@yahoo.co.uk

If OSM didn't have your road on it, you know what you should have done?

Added your road to the map.

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Re: Well, there's another reason...

there's an answer to your missing streets, old boy. map them with your GPS, and upload it to the OSM. Job done. It's called a crowd-sources product for a reason, after all.

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Re: "the most up-to-date". Really?

I will fix it next time I'm there if I can be arsed, but that's not the point is it? If I was using OSM to navigate around there I'd be up shit creek with no paddle, so to speak.

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TomTom iPhone/iPad app

If the new maps are using TT data and as they're also going to be turn-by-turn, I wonder how that'll affect the TomTom app for iDevices.

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Devil

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

Tom Tom has some experience of living in a world where its licensees compete with it.

Sygic (which is probably the best navigation app for Android) uses licensed TomTom maps. It also ships it for ShinyShiny and for Nokia/Symbian. I bet it is not the only one to use TomTom maps - there are others.

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FAIL

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

Are TomTom suicidal?

I don't bother buying a SatNav as my phone has Google Maps. And if I can get all the TomTom functionality on an iPhone, why would I ever bother buying a SatNav.

Smacks of desperation to me.

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Linux

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

"Are TomTom suicidal?" -- No, I have Google Maps on my phone but prefer using my dedicated TomTom device for navigation and my phone for audible entertainment.

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Holmes

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

"Are TomTom suicidal"

No, probably the reverse. Smartphone penetration will continue to eat into the SatNav market, if not reduce it to a small fraction of its former size. TomTom's products are feeling increasingly clunky; the touchscreens are a generation (or two) behind the phones; they just don't have the resources to keep up. The deal with Apple allows them to remain a relevant player for a few more years, and the massive increase in user base will should allow them to keep their maps more current through their crowd-sourced corrections scheme.

I'd guess they'll end up as an Apple subsidiary (with a nice fat payout to their shareholders) somewhere down the track.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

"Are TomTom suicidal?

I don't bother buying a SatNav as my phone has Google Maps."

No, and weirdly, your next sentence went on to explain why the deal they've brokered is the opposite of suicidal. Perhaps read your own post before hitting send?

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Meh

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

And wave goodbye to the TomTom app, Co-Pilot Live etc as Apple banishes them from the App Store for "duplicating in-built funtionality", and screwing over iPhone 4 users who can't get the new "magic" features of iOS6 (check - turn-by-turn is 4S only).

Suggest iPhone 4 users consider upgrading very carefully...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

But but but the iPhone doesn't suffer from device and OS fragmentation like Android does as we keep getting told by the Apple faithful. Surely what works on one works on another, no?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

Iphone 3GS is getting iOS 6, how's that Android update coming along? Oh, thats right, you get Android updates every 3 months, just as long as you keep buying new phones.

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WTF?

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

That "duplicating in-built functionality" rule was relaxed years ago, evidenced by the fact that you can download Sparrow, Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo mail clients from the app store.

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Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

"Iphone 3GS is getting iOS 6, how's that Android update coming along? Oh, thats right, you get Android updates every 3 months, just as long as you keep buying new phones."

You might want to check up on the reality of that. The 3GS and iPhone 4 won't get any of the fancy mapping stuff. Besides, the 3GS is still a "new" phone currently sold by Apple, so kind of has to be supported.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: so kind of has to be supported.

Someone should mention that to the Android phone makers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

Iphone 3GS is getting reduced functionality iOS6

There, fixed that for you

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Linux

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

> Iphone 3GS is getting iOS 6

PhoneOS updates on older iPhones are actually a dubious prospect. Those of us that don't restrict ourselves to some sort of single vendor are able to observe this for ourselves.

So your crowing is less impressive than you think.

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Stop

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

"Iphone 3GS is getting reduced functionality iOS6"

Is the iPhone 3GS actually losing features or gaining features but not as much as 4 or 4S? Because the latter is definitely NOT "reduced functionality".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

When your friend with the 4S shows you what he can do with iOS 6 and you know that you have also applied iOS 6 to your 3GS or 4 but find you can't do the same things then that really is reduced functionality no matter how you try to spin it

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

So Android users are now saying that getting updates are bad, LOL. Here is a clue, try restricting yourself to buying good phones instead of shit.

My crowing is more impressive than your excuse for buying shit, Oh and how is that galaxy "whatever" update working for you. What are you on now 2.31`? 2.32?

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Thumb Down

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app 22:42

Are we saying that? No I don't believe we are saying getting updates is bad. What is bad about it is that w get our updates given to us slowly to be sure, but with CLEAR outlines on what will do what when we get it without being told the new shiny PhoneOS is going to work on all devices (that are current) with little information on what features are going to be for the latest and greatest JesusPhone to date.

I also wouldn't call my phone shit when it comes to the hardware. Rather like it personally since the EVO 3D is a nice phone in and of itself even when I never use the 3D feature. Got it for the hardware.

In response to your comment about updates I will treat these as two distinct questions.

So the platform is the Galaxy update? Ill assume you meant the phone being updated which in this case I can say this: Beats the hell out of me how it is.

And in reference to your comment about version numbers, yep, you got us there. I guess if that's what it takes to make yourself feel justified in slamming people so that you feel high and mighty, so be it. Twat.

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Angel

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

It depends on the feature. For instance, the map app is losing public transit and bike routes if it updates.

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FAIL

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

Google Maps never had all the functionality of a Satnav, and I'm guessing that the maps app built in to the iPhone won't either. Here's a few differences ...

* a Satnav has to work even when you don't have a data connection

* a Satnav has to give directions

* a Satnav has to recalculate your route when you deviate from its instructions

* a nice-to-have is that it knows about heavy traffic and can navigate you around it

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Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

You may not recall, but TomTom used to make smartphone packages. TomTom Navigator 6 was the last major version to be widely released over here; I'm a former customer of theirs. They lost me when they refused to release any more map updates or WinMob update versions two or three years back, and then went to great lengths to try to persuade people to buy PNDs instead; I said at the time (boiled down) that smartphone users would outnumber PND users massively, and that SatNav packages on said smartphones would force them to change their tune or die trying.

Looks like while not being suicidal, they're still as blinkered, though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TomTom iPhone/iPad app

"Google Maps never had all the functionality of a Satnav, and I'm guessing that the maps app built in to the iPhone won't either. Here's a few differences ...

* a Satnav has to work even when you don't have a data connection"

Google Maps doesn't do that, no ...

" * a Satnav has to give directions "

Google Maps DOES do that

"* a Satnav has to recalculate your route when you deviate from its instructions"

Google Maps DOES do that

" * a nice-to-have is that it knows about heavy traffic and can navigate you around it" "

Apple's new software will do this. Google Maps I think also can too, may be wrong ... My TomTom doesn't.

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Anonymous Coward

TomTom, pretty shit here.

Prepare for a downgrade Apple owners...

Google Maps is pretty much bang upto date, and this will surely push Google to make it even better...

Of course TomTom is JUST the route maps, they won't be getting Streetview, Google Earth, or any of the Google Places data, which is superb.

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FAIL

TomTom - Still thinks its 2003

Around the city I live.

Also they make such a big thing about the user updates to correct and improve things.

However, they appear to do jack. Totally useless.

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Re: TomTom, pretty shit here.

Where I live google maps was using 6 - 8 years old maps. Only last week there was an update.

Streetview? Yes, I saw the Google car a year or two ago but this is still not available for non- paying customers.

TomTom is also lacking. It was great several years ago but the cards do not get updated in my area.

I uploaded a score of error reports to Tele-Atlas. Hopefully they will fix it now.

OpenStreetmap has current cards of my area but Apple is using some old snapshot missing a lot of the newer streets.

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Re: TomTom - Still thinks its 2003

Google tried to license their map data, which was based on Keyhole satellite photos. But they wouldn't play. So Google bought Keyhole and saved some money. In 2003.

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g e
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Joke

At least

It'll piss Garmin right off.

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Anonymous Coward

I wonder if apple will be including speed camera database, which seems to actually be one of the most common uses of sat nav devices these days? Or will tomtom get to charge extra for that still?

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g e
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Maybe they'll charge Apple to include it

30%, sir ?

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Re: Maybe they'll charge Apple to include it

What would be different? TomTom sells this as an inApp purchase currently. Apple gets is 30%. Unless Apple is buying TomTom nothing will change.

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Anonymous Coward

Lorry

So once the big lorries get the magic iButton installed they will be sent directly to the smallest road where they will get stuck......but hey they can use the iButton to phone for help.

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Ah yes, TeleAtlas. Google Maps used them. It took almost two years for them to change the fictional Lugsmoor Lane in SW1 to the actual Cleveland Row after i reported it. London walking guides are full of references to the fictional Lugsmoor Lane, rather gives away that the person who wrote the guide had never actually done the walk and taken notes.

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I wonder if you discovered a Mountweazel.

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Anonymous Coward

Time for some turnabout

Considering all the stupid crap apple have sued google for, wonder if google has a patent for using a map on a mobile device. I hope they do, because that'd be entertaining.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Time for some turnabout

When did Apple ever sue Google? This is how we know your an unemployed hater. Hater because you can't be bothered with simple facts, unemployed because you find simple facts hard to deal with.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Time for some turnabout

Have you not been reading the news for the last, oh, few years? You know, where Apple have been throwing lawsuits at all and sundry over their use of Android, alongside Microsoft's Mafia trying to extract protection money? Maybe not Google directly, at first, but it's not like Apple or Microsoft have been trying to beat Android via innovation, have they?

In response, Google are suing Apple over FRAND patents they bought from Motorola Mobility. I'd hoped that Apple would have seen this as a warning and said something like "yeah okay, we're dicks, fair enough".

But no, Apple sue Google (in the US) to get Google to stop suing Apple (in Germany). Really you couldn't make this up.

And it's "you're". As in, "you're an unemployed hater".

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