No one said it WAS an Apple innovation!
A lot of these comments are criticizing Apple for claiming this as something new, when as far as this article goes at least, they've done nothing of the sort!
In my experience, having a compass to determine the direction you're facing when starting-up the map application, and in the absence of other land marks, is very useful. Of course, if you get by fine without one, well done, good luck to you. You don't have to buy one; it's not mandatory and you're not the gadget police!