back to article No GPS in the iPad Mini Wi-Fi: People are right to criticise

Wi-Fi-only iPads have never featured GPS, but the lack of satellite-navigation tech in the new Mini fondleslab's non-cellular version has provoked a mild backlash: and rightly so, though not many people understand why. The new gizmos do have a "digital compass", a magnetometer which is aware of the direction the slab is being …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple has to have something for the next release 6 months down the road.

    1. Shagbag

      Apple dumping on their fans. Again.

      £100 more expensive than its nearest rival and no GPS.

      It won't stop the 'fruity' fanbois from buying it though. Idiots.

      1. toadwarrior

        Re: Apple dumping on their fans. Again.

        Given the choice between no gps and buying a sub-par quality tablet full of malware isn't a hard choice.

        1. Arctic fox
          Trollface

          @toadwarrior RE "sub-par quality tablet full of malware " I say, steady on old chap....

          .......even though neither I nor my lady will have Cupertino Kit in the house even we would not describe the iPad in such terms*

          *Yes, as a service for the hard of thinking I will underline that I was deploying a technique known as "satire", yes "satire". As a further service here is the dictionary definition:

          noun

          1.

          the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.

          2.

          a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule.

          3.

          a literary genre comprising such compositions.

        2. W.O.Frobozz

          Re: Apple dumping on their fans. Again.

          Proof? Oh right, you're a fanboy...it's all a matter of "faith" to you.

          I've got 3 android devices, never had a whiff of "malware" on them. For me it's a matter of "works."

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Apple dumping on their fans. Again.

          You keep on believing what Apple tell you. If you helps you sleep at night, then yes, my tablet is chock full of Android malware.

          However back in the REAL world, anyone that just uses the regular Google Play store, they are just fine, nothing to worry about, that's a nice little safe world.

          What the press and companies selling security "solutions" (snakeoil) don't tell you of course, is all the malware horror stories, are from those dodgy grey market stores, which you can only access by ticking the allow non-marketplace installs, at which point you get a very clealy worded malware warning telling you that there are dragons ahead....

          1. Marvin the Martian
            Facepalm

            Get your story straight.

            So 'fanboys' are all 'idiots', yet Apple would have 'an insultingly poor opinion of its customers' tech savvy'?

            I guess a poor opinion of 90% of customers' tech savvy is on the money (at worst), or optimistic (more likely). [I didn't mention Apple in that sentence, I notice.]

      2. Mark .

        Re: Apple dumping on their fans. Again.

        Indeed. I would be happy to accept a tablet without GPS - after all, I use my phone for that, and since most of the time I'll use satnav directions, there really isn't an advantage to having a bigger screen. A phone in my pocket that I listen to on headphones (or in the car for drivers) is far easier than faffing around holding a big tablet.

        But, I accept the lack of a GPS on the ultra-cheap tablets, like the Ainol tablets (which have very decent specs, at way less than a Nexus 7, and the GPS is really the only ommission). On a ultra-expensive tablet - like this islate mini or whatever they finally called it, at £100 more than the Nexus 7 and Kindle HD - it's inexcusable.

  2. Chad H.

    So we all use one of those other devices we have that have GPS as standard. Big Deal.

    1. Mark .

      Exactly. We use one of those other better devices that has GPS as standard (like a Samsung Galaxy phone, or Nexus 7), and don't buy an ipad mini. Exactly the point I imagine the OP was making.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look on the bright side.

    The apple maps are still rubbish so if you have no GPS you won't be tempted to use The app. I've switched to using the maps app on my cheapo android seeing as the ios6 upgrade rendered the maps app on my ipad utterly useless. Someone at Cupertino needs a good kicking.

  4. Richard Crossley
    Devil

    Apple, buy it more than once

    That's so you buy another device, iPhone that has the GPS, but a rubbish maps app. Are the maps the same in the mini iPad?

    1. Andrew Moore Silver badge

      Re: Apple, buy it more than once

      are you asking if the iPad mini runs iOS6???

  5. Platelet

    it also shows that the firm has an ... opinion of its customers' tech savvy

    I think the article confuses insultingly poor with accurate

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: it also shows that the firm has an ... opinion of its customers' tech savvy

      Indeed, there are folks who are far more tech savvy than me, and folk who are pretty tech clueless but excel in other areas... viva la difference.

      It's probably for the best that the iPad Mini doesn't have GPS... having them left on the dashboards of parked cars might put insurance premiums.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: it also shows that the firm has an ... opinion of its customers' tech savvy

        Apple seems to be employing interns in its PR department. That, or that post was written using an iPad.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: it also shows that the firm has an ... opinion of its customers' tech savvy

        "It's probably for the best that the iPad Mini doesn't have GPS... having them left on the dashboards of parked cars might put insurance premiums."

        Well, we certainly don't want that, they might accidentally.

        1. Graham Dawson
          Coat

          @AC 18:30

          The whole thing? No!

  6. Amorous Coward
    Mushroom

    There are two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini - Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      " There are two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini - Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7."

      Actually, Kindle Fire HD is a bit pants, try using one. It stacks up quite badly against an iPad or a proper Android tablet (like the N7, as you pointed out). It's a bit glitchy and crippled.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: " There are two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini - Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7."

        LOLz, we have at least one butthurt KindleHD user, who is seething inside that he bought that instead of a "proper" Android device, but won't admit it yet, and downvotes anyone who makes fun of it :)

      2. Ian Watkinson
        Happy

        Re: " There are two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini - Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7."

        I'll tell you later, when I can compare the two. Nice thing about the kindle fire, is that you can trial it for 30 days.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: " There are two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini - Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7."

          "I'll tell you later, when I can compare the two. Nice thing about the kindle fire, is that you can trial it for 30 days."

          Nice, hope you get on well. I hated the crap out of it, compared to my N7, it just felt spazzy and glitchy, but it could be that my priorities are different.

          The upside of Amazon, although they are evil and eat babies is that their customer service is usually first rate. When my third gen Kindle had some problems caused by the own brand case, they phoned me back within an hour of me filling in a web form.. at 8pm in the evening. I was a bit shocked, and the guy who phoned me was super nice, very helpful and apologetic, immediately suggested a way forward and shipped me a replacement- scheduling a followup call to check all was OK. I suspect they really do want people to enjoy the experience.

        2. John 104

          Re: " There are two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini - Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7."

          We have both in my home. My son has the Fire HD and I have the Nexus 7. The fire is a nice piece of kit, really. But the lack of the GPS, accelerometer and compas was a no go for me. I need these things so I can use my tablet on my boat with nav software.

          Aside from the lack of location tech, the Fire is on par with the nexus. Although I have noticed some lag at times when my son loads too many games on it and chews up the storage.

          The display on both units is great, higher than the mini pad.

          The Fire is very Amazon focused, naturally. Too much so for my taste, but just right for monitoring a childs purchasing habits... :)

          The Nexus tries to be Google play focused, but you can ignore it by not playing by their rules. Not so much on the fire.

          Nexus is just a bit smaller in the hands. Great for reading.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: " There are two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini - Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7."

            "The Fire is very Amazon focused, naturally. Too much so for my taste, but just right for monitoring a childs purchasing habits... :)"

            That's actually a pretty good angle, that I hadn't considered- I didn't like how Amazonish it was, but maybe it's a benefit for you. I actually found it annoying, but clearly mileage does vary.

      3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: " There are two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini - Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7."

        That might be true however,

        I went into a large UK retailer earlier today to look at an android tablet.

        Guess what, none of those on display were in working order. This included the latest Samsing models.

        By contrast, the iPads were ready for prospective buyers to try out.

        I asked a sales droid why this was?

        His reply was that the android tablets weren't very good and people didn't like them so they didn't bother to keep them charged.

        Needless to say, I left the store empty handed.

        It seems that despite what the Fanbois (of android and apple) might say in forums like this the demand from the average punter is that great.

        1. Chet Mannly

          Re: " There are two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini - Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7."

          "His reply was that the android tablets weren't very good and people didn't like them so they didn't bother to keep them charged."

          Or he was an Apple specific sales person sabotaging his competition.

          We have them in Aus as well. Heard one banging on about how you need an anti-virus for android to even use it but not Apple.

          Should have seen the look on his face when I pointed out to the potential customer he was talking bullshit...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: " There are two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini - Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7."

            "His reply was that the android tablets weren't very good and people didn't like them so they didn't bother to keep them charged"

            Fair enough. It probably costs more to keep an Android tablet charged than they make in sales.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: " There are two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini - Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7."

          Several possible answers for not charging the non apple devices,

          1) Perhaps the apples needed the charges hard wired into the device

          2) Someone stole the chargers, for the others.

          3) More likely with the inflated apple price his commission is far higher. Salespeople are motivated by greed not by doing good.

          Remember the printer wars? The salesperson always tried to sell you the machine with (a) the best commission, (b) the greatest ink consumption, (c) the need for the customer to purchase extras like connecting cables at just four times the normal prices. Some retailers tried to ban the inclusion of cables with the machines they stocked.

        3. Mark .

          Re: " There are two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini - Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7."

          But I think the causative link is wrong there. I mean, you're telling me that the Apple products are all prominently on display, open for people to use, and well supported by the shop staff, whilst Android tablets aren't even in working order - and *shock horror* people therefore are more likely to buy the Apple ones?

          The truth is that most people aren't fussed about OS-arguments (or don't know or care enough to know the differences). But things like the level of support in shops are the primary reason why Apple are selling more - that, and things like the vast amount of free media advertising they got, even before it was announced (so this was nothing to do with them selling better, as it came first).

          It should be the job of shop staff to sell the products, and make things in working order. I bet they're not even consistent - in the shop you visited, are the iphones not in working order, because most people by far buy Android? Are the Macs all collecting dust in a corner, whilst the Windows PCs are all on prominent display? I bet not.

          So yes, this is a sad problem - but it's not the view of the average punter that's a problem, it's the unfair support that one platform seems to be getting in shops, and other places - e.g., app support from random websites or companies for their services, or coverage in the media as I say. It's nothing to do with what people are buying, because we see the same unfair support for iphone, even though it's never been anywhere near the most popular platform.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini

      Not quite right - the Nexus 7 is the good reason to not buy a Kindle FireHD, the Fire is not a reason to not buy an iPad*.

      There's actually no reason to buy a Kindle FireHD (unless it can download LoveFilm content for offline viewing - last time I checked it only streamed, which limits the appeal).

      *I did buy a Nexus 7, great value for money, but that sums it up - it really is a value-level product. I'm flogging it and getting something that works properly (i.e. doesn't suffer screen-freeze for no reason every few minutes).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini

        "*I did buy a Nexus 7, great value for money, but that sums it up - it really is a value-level product. I'm flogging it and getting something that works properly (i.e. doesn't suffer screen-freeze for no reason every few minutes)."

        Weird, what dodgy crap did you install on it? Mine, which was a very early preorder one, is smooth as a Ken Doll. I suspect you are Le Troll, sir :)

        1. Tom 35 Silver badge

          I suspect you are Le Troll, sir :)

          Maybe he is holding it wrong.

      2. bluest.one

        Re: two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini

        Screen freeze? Every few minutes?

        Never suffered from that on mine.

        *cough*bullshit*cough*

      3. Chet Mannly

        Re: two good reason for not buying an iPad Mini

        "*I did buy a Nexus 7, great value for money, but that sums it up - it really is a value-level product. I'm flogging it and getting something that works properly (i.e. doesn't suffer screen-freeze for no reason every few minutes)."

        Its either a faulty device that you should take back for repair, or you are an Apple fanboi troll.

        My money is on troll.

  7. Thomas 6
    Devil

    Offline mappage

    There is also the point that Google Maps can be downloaded so can be used offline. Very useful on my N7.

    Icon: Well we are talking about Apple.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Offline mappage

      "Google Maps can be downloaded" - this is a misleading statement, unless Google have fixed this (which I doubt). You can download SOME coverage of google maps, and this, if I remember, something you have to do manually. And each time you do it, you can only grab an area with a radius of 10 miles from the point you pick. And again. And again. And again. And then you give up, if you thought to have a larger area offline. When you bear in mind it's a Google project, you can be absolutely sure that the "ease of use" (not) of this offline mapping storage feature is not a coincidence.

      Fortunately, there are other apps, which mean "offline", when they say "offline", e.g. map droyd (rather inferior in many other ways, but then, you can truly download openstreet maps as per country.

      1. Thomas 6

        Re: Offline mappage

        I agree that the offline aspect of Google Maps is not perfect and is obviously limited to what has been downloaded beforehand. However, the combination of this feature plus the WiFi tethering feature of my android phone means that having GPS on my WiFi only tablet is extremely useful.

        I appreciate it is not perfect but I would imagine there are few people who would rather not have GPS available.

        1. Cavan
          FAIL

          Re: Offline mappage

          You sir have failed, by your own admission; tethering to the wifi only device collects your location data sans GPS. (from the phone's connection)

          This is a non-story, I confess I do not use maps on my iPad, I use my always on, always connected unlimited phone connection (which I can tether to the iPad).

          I do not understand how or why lazy journalists pick up on non-stories like this, and presumably get paid to do so, without getting the facts / using the devices themselves.

          I for one do not wish to take valuable space up on my iPad for offline maps which I'll never / very rarely use, and which will be out of date by the time I do get around to using them.

          The always harped on maps fiasco, which most (probably 90%) of actual users are using purely to highlight the "amusing inaccuracies / collapsed bridges / spiky tahiti"

          1. Thomas 6

            Re: Offline mappage

            Not sure why you seem to be so upset about this. I have admitted that the solution isn't perfect by any means. It is, however, better than not having GPS at all. I have noticed it is a trait of certain fans of products, both Apple and otherwise, to not only to forgive a missing feature but to actively argue that it is better not to have the feature at all. This is not behaviour that I understand.

            Maybe I wasn't clear previously but I only tether to download a route as it drains battery to leave it on too long.

            1. rvt

              Re: Offline mappage

              I don't agree, yes I can get GPS on my IPad2 wifi only through the tethering it over my 3gs, but really I do which they put a GPS chip in any ipad. It's useful to have, and hardly cost much more.

              I do life in a country where mobile internet is expensive, and when I go on Holliday it's hard to get a sim only abbo with enough bandwidth to suppose a 'always connected' you need for navigation.

              I think it's at least useful to some extend for more then 50% of all ipad users, is my best guess.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Offline mappage

          Living in a part of the UK with rather large reserves of ironstone just below the ground, I do find GPS tends to be rather useful although at times I do have to re-orientate the displayed maps ...

      2. bluest.one

        Re: Offline mappage

        You can download some coverage. Yes. You can't download the entire British Isles. How insightful. There is limited space, however, I was taken aback recently when I downloaded an area I was visiting and found out the data covered a far greater area than I'd selected. By 10s of miles.

        I think the author of the article really needs to correct the error where they say that a wireless only device is useless with just the free mapping apps.

        If you have proper GPS and use those free map apps' offline maps function, you're (almost) golden.

        In addition, I've playing with Google Tracks on my N7, which records your gps movements and overlays them on your map. It's not perfect (yet) - it doesn't overlay on your offline maps - you need to GT back online to see the map images - and the play through only works with Google Earth, which has less up-to-date data than Maps, but it's pretty sweet.

        And only usable with proper GPS.

        It's incredibly handy and adds a great deal of value in a non-3G/4G device.

      3. dssf

        Re: Offline mappage and google politico crappo mapo treachery, too

        /rant on

        On my HTC i cannot use google maps unless i accept the new, updated map-- which has a nasty-assed evil dropping of the name Dokdo and replacement of an anglo Liancourt Rocks. Why the hell would google do such an evil thing to Korea, and insult non-Korean Koreaphiles who feel as enraged as Koreans, whrn Korea had a name for THEIR islands before the occupation and befoe foreigners arrived and told Korea wht name the rest of the world would call those rocks? On my Gal Tab, i inadvertently accepted the update, and then noticed the name Dokdo is not present, and Liancourt Rocks is shifted to the left.

        Apple may have horrible maps, but google just shot itself in the foot, risking killing off business in Korea, deservedly so. Samsung could forge ties with Hancom Office and find a way to upgrade its tablets and phones gradually away from google.

        How STUPID SHIT can google be? They claim it is not in response to any govvernment, yet by screwing Korea (both Koreas) out of a national treasure and resource, potentially, that is, it is easier for Korea to appease Japan and the USA, which is also is silently siding with Old:-) won't-die-off-soon-enough-right-wingers Japan, damaging relations between modern Japanese citizens and non-Japanese who wantJapan to knock it off. And, at a time when Korea keeps finding more archives, permits, tax code, and more, from within Korea and from within Japan, google dares to pull this damnable, stupid stun! Korea should summon brin and sergey, then sieze their passports until they can recite Korean history and first claim of the Dokdo Islands, and jail any lawyers who try to proxy for them.

        I should expect google to start nuking or exposin my email over time, i suppose...

        /rant off

        1. dssf

          Re: Offline mappage and google politico crappo mapo treachery, too

          Quick rant extension

          Recall the Reg story about China allegedly intending to sieze all phones and tablets having maps that either incorrectly and illegally name Chinese territory, or that disclose purportedly sensitive or military sites.

          Me thinks that Korea should start confiscating ALL inbound google-maps-containing tablets and phones just to make users sign a petition to blast google, and then return the devices after obtaining the assent of the updated user/visitor. Or, those who refuse will be held strictly to account if they violate their visa time limitations. Those wh reasonably see it Korea's way and history's way get some perks or cultural and tourism-related bonuses tax-free and untouchable by the USA IRS.

          Educational for the tourists, and not a draconian as the alleged China method...

          Rant extension off

          1. Rukario

            Re: Offline mappage and google politico crappo mapo treachery, too

            But doesn't Korea take all your mobile devices off you and only give them back when you leave the country???

          2. rvt

            Re: Offline mappage and google politico crappo mapo treachery, too

            I Don't have the link, but that is properly the reason why the bloke with he new IPhone 5 that went to China all of a sudden got different maps then when he was outside of the country.

            When he got back home, his maps changed again.

      4. Mark .

        Re: Offline mappage

        Yes, and also you're limited to only a few offline regions. For heaven's sake Google, I have 16GB of storage, but you arbitrarily impose a limit on what I can store offline?!

        Nokia had this working right *six years ago*. You can download countries or continents at a time, and even the entire world easily fits into storage of the average phone these days. Even when a 4GB SD card was expensive, they realised that people might find it useful to install large chunks at a time. This is the kind of thing that would be great on non-3G tablets, and it's also use for if you're roaming in another country, or somewhere with bad data connection.

      5. AJR37

        Re: Offline mappage

        Google Maps downloads much more than that limit. I've just made 67 sq miles available in one download, that covers Birmingham to Bristol UK. Sure, not perfect, but still very useful.

        I'm quite surprised that there is no GPS, from a usability perspective, but not at all surprised from an Apple profits perspective.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Offline mappage

      My understanding is The Google maps can only be downloaded if you plan a route beforehand, and then it downloads a bunch of the data around it - for if you go off piste. Although doesn't Googlemaps also need to phone home to a server in order to do route planning?

      So Google is better, but not as good as a proper satnav. Also if you didn't know you'd be looking up a route in advance, it's no help, if you're off the beaten track. Such as a recent family visit with Mum, who didn't know where she was going, but hadn't bothered to bring her sat nav, or a map. My iPad was useless, because I couldn't get signal, but the Nokia Maps on my phone did the nob nicely.

      Trying to navigate as a passenger is far nicer with a tablet than a smarthphone though.

      1. stanimir

        Re: Offline mappage

        you dont have to plan the route just select area (like city) and download the maps. The area can be larger than 10miles as someone claimed.

        I've never used non-wifi maps(no active 3g/edge conn) and the GPS navigation on a sub 100quid phone always has been good. It may take a few minutes to "catch" the satellites but afterwards it's ok.

      2. Argh

        Re: Offline mappage

        I was travelling abroad the past few weeks and found offline Google maps almost useless. You can't plot a route, which I knew, but I was also unable to even search for anything (e.g. road name, town, hotel name), even if it had been downloaded and was visible on the map, which was particularly poor.

        I ended up using Osmand for free navigation. It wasn't perfect (based on OSM, so just as bad as Apple Maps!), but got me from A to B, and let me set waypoints to work around situations where it routed me down a private gated road.

        1. John 104

          Re: Offline mappage

          @argh, Offline mappage Osmand

          I use osmand on my nexus 7 and its great. I've downloaded the entire west coast of the US and it does a fine job of tracking. As for storage on your device, really? If you are that starved for space, do some house cleaning...

        2. Chet Mannly

          Re: Offline mappage

          "I was travelling abroad the past few weeks and found offline Google maps almost useless. You can't plot a route, which I knew, but I was also unable to even search for anything (e.g. road name, town, hotel name), even if it had been downloaded and was visible on the map, which was particularly poor."

          Then you obviously don't know how to use maps troll. Plotting a route is easy, and searching involves writing the word and hitting search - if you can't manage that it isn't maps fault...

          I searched for accommodation in Kwazulu-Natal last night. Could even zoom down to see the satellite image of the place.

          1. Doogie1

            Re: Offline mappage

            The biggest problem with offline maps in Google maps is that it periodically loses the cached data and it always seems to know the worst time to do it!

      3. John 104
        Trollface

        Re: Offline mappage

        @I ain't Spartacus

        Your iPad wasn't useless because it didn't have a signal...

      4. Chet Mannly

        Re: Offline mappage

        "My understanding is The Google maps can only be downloaded if you plan a route beforehand,"

        Your understanding is wrong.

        You don't have to plan a route (though you can if you want), simply open maps and point at the part of the map you want to download.

      5. Mark .

        Re: Offline mappage

        I agree Nokia Maps is great, though:

        "Trying to navigate as a passenger is far nicer with a tablet than a smarthphone though."

        Navigate as a passenger? How quaint :) There's no difference between tablets and phones if both have data connections and you're not using as a phone - but if you mean a larger screen, most phones these days seem big enough for car use these days, and wouldn't 10" be rather a bit too big to mount up on the dashboard? And for walking, far easier to put the device in a pocket, and listen to the satnav instructions on headphones. Actually having to look at a map and figure out where you're going is so 20th Century :) (As a passenger, might as well use a netbook/laptop too for a bigger screen.)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wasted £10 on maps of Spain

    This caught be out with a WiFi iPad2. I was flying to Spain and hiring a car with my wife, so thought I'd get maps of Spain on the iPad, so save by not having to rent a GPS with the car. I spent most the the journey from the airport staring at the beautifully rendered map of Spain - wondering why the location was refusing to change from London Heathrow. Astonished, annoyed and bitter when I learnt that GPS was only included on the 3G model.

    1. Chris 3

      Re: Wasted £10 on maps of Spain

      Did you turn on Wi-Fi?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wasted £10 on maps of Spain

        Similar thing happened to me in France and there was no wifi signal.

        My wife had, however, downloaded google maps on her droid and the GPS worked perfectly without 3g or WiFi. I was more than a little bit jealous and cross.

        1. rvt

          Re: Wasted £10 on maps of Spain

          If you brought you iphone with you you could have use thethering to you ipad to get the needed GPS location.

    2. Johan Bastiaansen
      Facepalm

      Re: Wasted £10 on maps of Spain

      "it also shows that the firm has an accurate opinion of its customers' insultingly poor tech savvy"

      So this applies to you then?

    3. the_LocoCoyote

      Re: Wasted £10 on maps of Spain

      well....I am not sure it's Apple's responsibility to ensure you know what you are buying. The lack of a discrete GPS chip on WiFi only iPads is no secret..... Perhaps you should have done a bit of research before coming up with your grand plan, no?

      It gets tiring hearing about how tech company A (B, C, G, M...whatever) is screwed up because you can't use your device to do something it isn't designed for.

      1. Vector
        Meh

        @the_LocoCoyote Re: Wasted £10 on maps of Spain

        "It gets tiring hearing about how tech company A (B, C, G, M...whatever) is screwed up because you can't use your device to do something it isn't designed for."

        ...and that is the Locus of the problem I have with Apple's Philosophy: 'We didn't design it for that, so you shouldn't use it for that.'

        It just seems a bit shortsighted to me that Apple can't seem to imagine why anyone would take a device without a cellular connection out of the house. Even after introducing the Personal Hotspot functionality.

        Not that they're completely alone in this blindspot. Personally, I can't imagine needing a cellular radio on my tablet since I carry my phone with me everywhere but all the manufacturers and carriers keep trying to convince me I need it.

        I know, I know. "There's more money in it!"

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wasted £10 on maps of Spain

      Astonished that you hadn't thought to check what you were buying?

      Annoyed that you hadn't checked what you were buying?

      Bitter that you'd assumed features existed in the device you were buying when in fact they aren't advertised as such?

      Okay, so I think it's a daft ommission too, but I did read the features of what I was buying! iPad stays in house, GPS not needed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wasted £10 on maps of Spain

        Moved to elaborate. I bought the iPad for my wife because she likes Apple stuff (where as I use a netbook running Ubuntu because I more often than not I need SSH access to stuff). I knew this about my wife before we married, but it's something I've grown to accept. The choice of WiFi or WiFi + 3G was made on the basis that she'd rarely use it away from 3G, and if needed I can tether it to a smartphone. I didn't consider GPS at all.

        But I had assumed that it had GPS on it - probably because when you open maps it shows your location. Perhaps a silly assumption, but I would be hard pressed to name another tablet, or indeed smartphone, that omitted GPS.

        To answer the specific points:

        Astonished that Apple sold tablets without GPS.

        Annoyed that I'd stupidly wasted £10 on a map of Spain that I couldn't use for the intended purpose.

        Bitter that the car hire company wanted an extra £80 to include a GPS with the car, which is what caused me to look for a simple alternative.

      2. Chet Mannly

        Re: Wasted £10 on maps of Spain

        "Bitter that you'd assumed features existed in the device you were buying when in fact they aren't advertised as such?"

        Nope, bitter that they paid $370 for a device that doesn't have GPS functionality which is standard on most sub $200 chinese android tablets.

        I think the issue is that the Apple device costs a lot more, so people expect that it will do everything the cheaper tablets do and more. A lot of people haven't figured out Apple's strategy of removing key features from base models to make people upgrade...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wasted £10 on maps of Spain

      Wow it's true, Apple users really are dumb....

      1st hit on Apple iPad2 Specs

      https://www.apple.com/ipad/ipad-2/specs.html

      Under "Location"

      Wifi Model:

      Wi-Fi

      Digital compass

      3G+WiFi Model

      Wi-Fi

      Digital compass

      Assisted GPS

      Cellular

    6. John 104
      Facepalm

      Re: Wasted £10 on maps of Spain

      @AC Wasted maps of spain

      LOL!!! Sorry for your pain, but this is what you get for not doing proper research before spending your money. I guess Apple is counting on that so they can upsell you on a new shiny ipad...

    7. rvt

      Re: Wasted £10 on maps of Spain

      That's your own fault really. I assume you also think it makes your coffee in the morning? I bit of research wouldn't help before you buy, right? Specially if you know about GPS, and why you need it.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wasted £10 on maps of Spain

      And what's worse, you were IN Spain!

  9. Kane Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    "it'll do for working out the route from the Starbucks to the beret shop"

    New keyboard and a fresh coffee...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shurely..

      New beret and fresh coffee?

  10. DapaBlue

    Plenty of times I use my Nexus7 running Google Maps, while using the wireless hotspot of a cheapo Android handset in my pocket - a great combo for infrequent use.

    I can't imagine GPS support adding much more than $2 to the BoM, so in typical Apple fashion it's not because it's prohibitive, it's because to chip in £100 to get the higher-margin cellular models. it plays to the carriers, too; why have one data plan, when you can pay for two?

    As with the lack of desktop widgets and low level access in iOS, they don't seemingly want to secure any power users; more the average Joes with cash to burn.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @DapaBlue

      "Plenty of times I use my Nexus7 running Google Maps, while using the wireless hotspot of a cheapo Android handset in my pocket - a great combo for infrequent use."

      I do much the same, though I recently discovered the joys of the bluetooth tethering option, too- which most decent Androids can offer. It chews a lot less power on both ends than the wifi. Works a treat on both my N7 and my iPad. Give it a go, it's really painless.

  11. Ivan Headache

    "It's not at all accurate"

    Lewis. I beg to differ.

    I have posted before about the remarkable accuracy of the iPod Touch running iOS5 without any GPS.

    Four years ago, my iPod could differentiate between me being on one side of a road or the other.

    Particularly in the Bloomsbury-Kings Cross-Euston area of London

    It also worked well in Spain also the accuracy was about 80 metres or so as apposed to the 5-15 metres I was getting in London.

    Blanket statements are all very well if they are true.

    Your statement isn't.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: "It's not at all accurate"

      Ivan, don't let facts confuse the issue, please! :-D

    2. Paul E

      Re: "It's not at all accurate"

      "my iPod could differentiate between me being on one side of a road or the other.

      Particularly in the Bloomsbury-Kings Cross-Euston area of London"

      Which side of the road is the beret shop on there?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "It's not at all accurate"

      Sorry, 80 metres IS not at all accurate.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "It's not at all accurate"

        "Sorry, 80 metres IS not at all accurate"

        Well hat depends on whether you're firing an RPG or a nuke doesn't it?

        I may have lost track of the conversation somewhere.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "It's not at all accurate"

        Sorry, 80 metres IS not at all accurate.

        Nope, not when a 20 quid bluetooth gps module can lock down to 2-3m in urban settings quickly and easily. If you need the precision, it's easy to get.

  12. Silverburn
    Happy

    Obligatory Scotty reference

    "A digital compass? How quaint...."

  13. Infernoz Bronze badge
    FAIL

    BS for need for on-line access

    I have at least two Android apps which can download free OSM maps, well inside 2GB, which work fine as an accurate turn-by-turn GPS, with just a GPS sensor on, and WiFi turned off.

    There is no excuse to leave a GPS sensor out of any modern tablet!

  14. ukgnome

    Question? Can you tether a GPS receiver using bluetooth?

    I tether a GPS to my old nokia as I use a version of TOM - TOM from 12 years ago.

    1. Jaques Croissant

      Question? Can you tether a GPS receiver using bluetooth?

      Yes, you can, if it has Bluetooth. If it's an NMEA device, you need a little bit of free software to make it talk to most Android devices. No luck on iOS, unless you want to jailbreak it, though. There are iOS-specific receivers (the "Dual" branded one is nice) that work, though they are about five times the price for about the same functionality.

      Additionally, at least on Android phones, you can run a little bit of software that serves the phone's own grappy aGPS data up as an NMEA GPS or similar over Bluetooth, so you could tether your phone's GPS to your tablet over Bluetooth (just to confuse matters).

      OK, so I am oddly fascinated by this stuff, own a few GPS units, and a few iOS and Android devices, probably means I am a bit of a nerd, shame on me. Hope that helps, anyroad.

    2. Ian Watkinson
      FAIL

      Yes, but with apple olny certain, much more expensive ones work. I had an older BT GPS that worked fine with older Phones/laptops etc as a serial gps sender over BT, but wont' work with an IPad or ipod touch, and assumedly with an ipad mini.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      XGPS150

      I used to use the XGPS150, with Bluetooth, on my 4th Gen iPod Touch. I used it with a Garmin app, which stored maps on board, and it used to work quite well. I have since moved to a Navigon app on my iPhone and I have not used this device since.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For once, Lewis is on the money

    A timely rant, too.

    Actually, I was shocked how good the little GPS reciever in my Nexus 7 is- way better than the slow and crummy aGPS in any phone I have owned. That said, I have a little twenty quid keyring-sized bluetooth GPS unit which I use with my phone when abroad and away from data roaming, where aGPS can be a bind, and that's just as good. However, I do like Google Maps offline on my N7 (though have a proper offline nav app on there too, and Citymaps2Go, as I am a bit OCD).

    That said, there are some good BT GPS thingies that you can use with iPads too, though they are terribly overpriced, for the most part, and not pocketable and sturdy as my little keyring thingy :)

  16. EddieD

    Adding to the list...

    My Lumia is perfectly happy navigating me around Greece, and I most certainly turn every form of data connection off when I'm abroad - with UK, Europe and ,for no other reason than "see what I can do" Texas maps loaded - I think they take up about 3 gigs of space...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Adding to the list...

      Is that the Lumia with the half finnished OS that will never be updated?

      1. EddieD

        Re: Adding to the list...

        That's one way you can look at it.

        I prefer to say that it can do all that I want, and a lot more than I need, and it has offline gps and mapping.

        Which both work, unlike some "finished" oses.

  17. TRT Silver badge

    And it won't even cache the WiFi location database for very long anyway thanks to all the complaints about iOS keeping a location track history forever. The complaints weren't about the fact it kept them, but the fact it kept them unencrypted.

  18. Tom 38 Silver badge

    On all iDevices that have GPS, the GPS provided is A-GPS - Assisted GPS, using cell towers to achieve a fast lock. How do Android devices that have GPS, but not cellular, provide GPS? IE, do they include a proper A-GPS system, or is it just standard, slow to resolve, GPS?

    I specifically bought the 3G ipad (original one) because it had A-GPS, and I wanted to use it as a glorified map. I think I can count on one hand the number of times that has been useful; it's completely useless abroad unless you have pre-purchased/downloaded maps of your chosen country, or are obscenely rich and just turn on roaming.

    1. Jaques Croissant

      "On all iDevices that have GPS, the GPS provided is A-GPS - Assisted GPS, using cell towers to achieve a fast lock. How do Android devices that have GPS, but not cellular, provide GPS? IE, do they include a proper A-GPS system, or is it just standard, slow to resolve, GPS?"

      Actually, Tom, in no data coverage situations, a proper standard multichannel GPS receiver locks a signal a fuck of a lot faster after downloading the almanac from the sats than an aGPS unit would. I have sat around on my artse for a quarter of an hour in the middle of Helsinki waiting for my HTC Desire to lock, but my N7 gets a solid (and far more accurate) lock on the street in about 30 seconds flat.

      aGPS is there to allow cheap and shitty chipsets to be used, despite being in areas with multipath issues. They aren't better, they are a fudge to allow more crappy hardware to work nicely. It's a clever hack, but I would rather have good quality "real" GPS every damn time, given a choice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You neglect to mention that donwloading the almanac can take 15 minutes from cold start, that's assuming the satellite signal is good enough and uninterrupted for those 15 minutes or it can take a 'fuck of a lot' longer.

        A-GPS in those circumstances can be very useful.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "You neglect to mention that donwloading the almanac can take 15 minutes from cold start, that's assuming the satellite signal is good enough and uninterrupted for those 15 minutes or it can take a 'fuck of a lot' longer."

          Can it? It never ever ever ever has for me, using a 20 quid BlueNEXT BN-902MM. I must be magic. I tried it around the south of England, onna plane over the Atlantic, and also in the countryside near Roskilde, and all seemed fine.

        2. Chet Mannly

          "You neglect to mention that donwloading the almanac can take 15 minutes from cold start, that's assuming the satellite signal is good enough and uninterrupted for those 15 minutes or it can take a 'fuck of a lot' longer."

          Never taken more than 1 minute to download the almanac on my SGS2.

          Might take 15 minutes several stories down in an underground carpark or something I guess...

      2. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Cool story bro. Where are these "no data coverage" areas you speak of?

        a proper standard multichannel GPS receiver locks a signal a fuck of a lot faster after downloading the almanac from the sats than an aGPS unit would.

        Apparently it can take 12.5 minutes to download your almanac, but once it's done that, it's super fast to lock. I think I'll stick to my "fudged GPS on crappy hardware".

    2. Tom Wood

      Download maps before you go

      I don't know about iOS, but for Android you can buy a satnav app like CoPilot for a few quid, which has offline mapping.

      I have used this in the US several times, with mobile data turned off, and it functions OK. Didn't even occur to me that A-GPS may not work with data off - I presume it functioned OK as a standalone GPS. Maybe it took a few seconds to get a fix but provided you switch the GPS on a minute or so before you start the car you're OK (no worse than a stand-alone TomTom etc).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Download maps before you go

        "I don't know about iOS, but for Android you can buy a satnav app like CoPilot for a few quid, which has offline mapping."

        I tried Copilot after being screwed by Navigon (bought a new phone, they wouldn't let me transfer the license, though I should pay another 40 quid for the honour of using it on my new one, fuck them). For some reason, it calculates weirdly bad routes- a 23 mile trip to work, which is about 16 miles give or take with anyone else, whatever fast/short options are selected.. That is a hell of a difference for a cyclist :D

  19. Miffo

    I've never used the GPS on my Nexus 7 (or my Archos 5) - why would I - I have a phone with GPS like most tablet users. And I have a cheap car holder for the phone but not for the Nexus which would blot out a lot of the view if clamped to the windscreen. I've also got a phone holder for the motorbike too.

    I do use Google maps on the Nexus sometimes to look something up but WiFi location is fine for that as I'm always indoors when I use the Nexus.

    I'm no Apple fan but I can't see it being an issue for the majority of users.

  20. bitten
    Unhappy

    no gps for my laptop either

  21. Steve Todd
    Stop

    Apple use the GPS/GLONAS decoder in the 3G baseband chip

    So the additional cost to support it in the 3G/LTE version is small. Most people who buy the WiFi only version don't take their iPad out of the house so it's a pretty fair compromise to omit the extra hardware and cost from that version. If you tether it to an iPhone however then it gets access to the iPhone's GPS chip.

    So, did you really want to pay an extra £50 for a feature that most uses won't use and gets included for free in the 3G/LTE version?

    1. Ian Watkinson
      FAIL

      Re: Apple use the GPS/GLONAS decoder in the 3G baseband chip

      " If you tether it to an iPhone however then it gets access to the iPhone's GPS chip."

      Since when?

      https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3810027?start=0&tstart=0

      http://johnmarshall4.tumblr.com/post/4061084217/debunking-the-wi-fi-only-ipad-tethered-iphone-4-gps

      Hasn't worked since day 1, despite what daring firebollocks said.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Apple use the GPS/GLONAS decoder in the 3G baseband chip

        Well if you tether an iPod touch or iPad to an Android phone, the wifi location service will give you a very accurate location fix. It doesn't update quite as frequently as using GPS directly, so if you are on a train for example, the location will update maybe every 30 seconds or so. That may not be good enough for turn by turn navigation, but good enough for getting walking or public transport directions. However, what with the new Apple maps and the fact that wifi tethering will most likely drain your Android's battery faster than you can recharge it, you are as well just getting that from the Android directly

    2. Chet Mannly

      Re: Apple use the GPS/GLONAS decoder in the 3G baseband chip

      "So, did you really want to pay an extra £50 for a feature that most uses won't use and gets included for free in the 3G/LTE version?"

      Where does a GPS chip cost 50 quid? They are a buck or 2 at a component level, that's why $200 Androids have GPS in them.

  22. S4qFBxkFFg
    Unhappy

    for some balance...

    On the subject of phone manufacturers being evil, Apple certainly aren't alone.

    I recently discovered my HTC Sensation XE doesn't actually support GLONASS, even though it's enabled in the chip, the radio firmware (which I'm not about to start messing with) is ignoring the perfectly good signals from 24 satellites (nearly half), for no particular reason I can work out.

    Compare to the wife's Samsung which quite happily picks up signals from both sets of satellites.

  23. Jonathan Hogg
    FAIL

    What. Ever.

    Apple have successful device, X, that lacks feature Y because the chipset necessary to support it is not included in that device.

    Apple make smaller, cheaper version of device X that also lacks feature Y.

    Apple is therefore evil.

    Honestly, Lewis, do you have anything useful to say anymore?

  24. the spectacularly refined chap

    Apple does reluctantly fit GPS in its devices which have cellular data connections, as cell-tower signals are long ranging and thus are likely not to offer any position information of any use - and people would notice if they could get an online map but not locate themselves on it.

    Err.. no. That has more to do with the US laws on E-911 than any nonsense about the ability to get maps. Maps don't take a lot of space and can simply be downloaded in advance. The satnav in my glove compartment has street-level mapping for the whole of Europe and the only connectivity it has is a USB port. The premises this article are based on are completely wide of the mark.

  25. dbhh

    Why would anyone have a 3G tablet at all??

    I've never understood why anyone would want a 3G tablet at all... doesn't everyone have a phone with a 3G data connection about their person already? Why on *earth* would I want to pay much more for the 3G version of the tablet, buy another SIM and pay for another data plan!?!?

    I have a WiFi Xoom (which has GPS), use my HTC Desire as a personal WiFi hotspot... and couldn't imagine any other sensible way of doing it...

    Is it really just me that does this?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Ian Watkinson
      Thumb Up

      Re: Why would anyone have a 3G tablet at all??

      Have an up-vote, ab-so-bloody-lutely.

      The only reason I can see for getting a data enabled tablet, is if someone else is paying for the sim for data use. Ala work email on a byod.

      Other than that, you pay for the date on one device, and share it, not put your data into two pots, both of which you're paying for!

      On the subject of no GPS, I assume the kindle fire hd will get a slating, as that doesn't have gps either and the nexus does...

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Why would anyone have a 3G tablet at all??

        3G tablet is for the GPS, innit.

        Also, I like to use my phone to make phone calls, not be a modem for my tablet. There is no quicker way to drain the battery than to use a phone as an AP. This might be fine to check email on the train on the way home, its fucking useless if you are in a field for a weekend and want your batteries to last as long as possible, not to accidentally drain your phone battery.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why would anyone have a 3G tablet at all??

      Err because my phone is a nokia 1800 without any of that 3G stuff though it does have a nice long standby time and its cheap to run. I'm only paying for one data plan - the specific one for my tablet. I've never seen the point of the fancy 3G phones with small screens. Each to their own I say.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Oh the ignorance

    Location services on mobile devices is only fast and widespread because it's Assisted GPS, i.e. it doesn't just rely on GPS it needs WiFi or cell triangulation as well.

    Without that extra information GPS performance ranges for poor - in urban environments with tall buildings, trees etc to - non-existent when indoors. Yes, the Nexus 7 has a GPS but it's hard to get a position fix from it in those conditions, most of the time you get "searching for GPS".... not useful at all.

    So why include a GPS that only works properly under clear sky or ideal conditions and not every time - as people expect it to? Just for the sake of checking a spec sheet, or to waste more battery?

    This is typical Apple, if some hardware doesn't work as expected it's not added in. People who need it can then buy the version which includes all the bits that let it work properly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh the ignorance

      Oh the ignorance squared, just taken my Nexus 7 through Shepherd's Bush, and rather than getting "searching for GPS", I was getting a lock within about 2m remarkably quickly.

      I would rather have the N7's GPS chip in my phone instead of its aGPS any day.

  27. Matt J
    Alert

    Don't forget Microsoft's Surface RT...

    ...that shiny new tablet from Microsoft? Wifi only? The one with no GPS either... are they also evil incarnate?

    Also, would love to see the evidence for the statement: "Apple does *reluctantly* fit GPS in its devices" - on what basis is it reluctant? Having GPS allows it to sell satnav applications (typically high-value) in its AppStore. and take a 30% cut of the price...

    I agree that GPS should be standard on all tablets, but I think it's a bit of a stretch to say it's evil not to have it, when it's probably just product differentiation, to be able to charge more for the cellular version!

    1. Vic

      Re: Don't forget Microsoft's Surface RT...

      > The one with no GPS either... are they also evil incarnate?

      Yes.

      HTH, HAND, etc.

      Vic.

  28. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  29. Waspy
    Headmaster

    "...a magnetometer which is aware of the direction the slab is being pointed but not it's location..."

    That would be "...its location..." then

    That is all

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's a pretty neat trick, as far as I'm aware the only way to know a location from direction is if you have an exact fix on the point of origin and speed as well, even then navigation and calculated location is subject to drift from things like magnetic variation, rounding errors etc which are all cumulative over time and result in huge inaccuracies in the location data which may explain a thing or two about their mapping software...

      1. ShadowedOne

        He was pointing out that 'Its' should have been used rather than 'It's'...

        1. The Baron
          Headmaster

          He did, however, omit the requisite full stops from his own post.

  30. The_Regulator
    Windows

    Or you could just go get a device that runs nokia maps that you "can" download for offline useage!!! e.g. Lumia anything........

  31. W.O.Frobozz

    Yep, that's Apple

    Spend more, get less. And still the fanboys will try and tell you that 2 + 2 =5 simple because of the "apple" logo.

  32. ChrisMcD
    Happy

    Sorry about the plug for Navfree - but is is free, on your phone and no 3G charges!

    Having gone through this thread I am amazed that nobody has plugged the free map downloads from Navfree

    http://www.navmii.com/

    Speaking as a cheapskate, I have a pay-as-you-go iPhone 4 and am very wary of paying for 3G charges in the UK let alone abroad.

    Navfree works well in the UK and was a godsend when I was trying to return a rental car to some godforsaken garage in the middle of a French town during their rush hour

    OK, you have to download it in advance, and it can get lost in the boonies, but most of the time it is a fantastic bit of free software. Certainly saved my nerves and collision damage excess

  33. sisk Silver badge

    "...insultingly poor opinion of its customers' tech savvy."

    Um....have you ever tried to talk tech with an average Apple customer? Judging from the ones I know the phrase 'tech savvy' doesn't really apply.

    (Yes, I know there are tech savvy Apple users, especially here on El Reg, but you're all well above the curve and you darn well know it.)

  34. AfternoonTea
    FAIL

    Am I the only person here that actually knows where they are going, route & all before I leave my house?

    I can read a map, I know the difference between grid, true & magnetic north. Hell, I could navigate across Mongolia using a watch.

    1. Robert E A Harvey

      until recently

      I think I have had a minor stroke.

      As long as I could remember, up until 2010, I always knew where North was. In a locked room you could say "where is North" and I would point to it within 10 or 15 degrees. Then one day in a tent in Zambia I woke up having no idea at all where the sun would rise. It was terrifying.

      I now carry a compass, but have noticed a lot of strange adaptations. Previously I could drive on the continent without bother. I now appear to automatically transpose left and right in my mind in order to do so. I noticed that on reading a sign in Groningen to use the East bypass, I turned toward the west. So both left turns and left-and-right on the map have been transposed. It's weird.

      I can still navigate without GPS, but have come to use car sat-navs in unfamiliar places rather like old people have cookers with giant knobs - for comfort, not because it is essential.

      Oh, and Mongolia is easy. Few roads, relatively flat landscape, good recognisable peaks on the skyline. And no woods. (the watch trick is a bit of a bugger when it is snowing heavily, mind) I recently got hopelessly lost in a 5 acre wood I have been walking my dogs through for 30 years. Had to go right out, work out where I was from the sunlight, and walk round the perimiter to somewhere obvious. (didn't need a GPS for that either)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: until recently

        "I now carry a compass, but have noticed a lot of strange adaptations. Previously I could drive on the continent without bother"

        I actually have one of those "small enough to go on a watch band" efforts on my keyring. I'll admit that it's less to do with navigation than being able to know where the light will be, mind, for photographic wossnames. I was shocked at how shonky and inaccurate the electronic equivalents were in various smartthings that I own.

        Accidentally, however, it has proven to be a Bobsend a few times while navigating a strange city with a free (rubbish) map. That said, now I try to download Open Streetmap data for cities before visiting, after the horror of Torino with a free hotel map..

  35. Peter Williams 1

    "Online only maps"

    'cmon, get a grip, Google Maps has had a "Download map" function for months, works fine on a HP Touchpad running ICS, also no GPS on board, but a BT external GPS logger.

    Cheep cheep.....

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GPS is a free feature that comes with mobile phone chipsets these days.

    If you are using wifi only then you aren't going to get it, simples!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If you are using wifi only then you aren't going to get it, simples!"

      Unless you bother to buy a wifi-only device which has a GPS receiver in it, "simples".

  37. Alan Denman

    GPS is justfeature!

    Like NFC, HDMI, SD cards, DLNA , USB drag and drop.

    Just features which some have, some don't have.

  38. Sean Timarco Baggaley
    FAIL

    GPS?

    I've heard of it. I've rarely bothered with it. I've driven from London to Rome with nothing but a list of major town / city names to look out for on the way. (From Calais, follow signs for Paris. As soon as you see signs for Bruxelles, follow those. As soon as you see signs for Luxembourg… and so on. All the way to Rome. No GPS. Not even an up-to-date Europe-wide map.) I did get slightly lost near Strasbourg thanks to some major road works, but that only set me back a few minutes.

    I find I can navigate just fine using those "signpost" thingies that every bugger else appears to ignore.

    I've known people who swear by GPS navigation, but these same people often regale me with tales of how their GPS "failed" them by sending them the wrong way down one-way streets, ignoring the existence of new, much better, roads, and so on. What boggles the mind is that, in many cases, these people must have deliberately ignored signage that would have avoided the problem entirely. GPS was meant to be an aid to your own navigation skills, not a complete replacement for them.

    Google's mapping data is no better – and often quite a bit worse – in this neck of the woods. TomTom's database at least labels the roads correctly, instead of suggesting that the main route to Viterbo isn't to take the nice, quick, series of bypasses built and opened over the past decade or so, but to drive instead right through the centres of no less than three medieval towns, all of which have dangerous hairpin bends and even some 20%+ gradients.

    But this anecdata does not count as "evidence". For every "Google Maps is way more accurate than Apple's" anecdote, there will be one that suggests otherwise.

    This is not a winnable argument.

    Journalists this very well. Hence their trolling. Yes, this very article is a troll. Comment threads like these are exactly what they – and their advertisers – want. And we've all fallen for it.

    I do hope The Register finds a better way to keep the money coming in. Click-based advertising is clearly affecting the quality of the content for the worse. I think I'd prefer it if they went with dedicated section sponsors (with the proviso that said sponsors have no editorial control).

    1. rvt
      Thumb Up

      Re: GPS?

      Well said,thank you!

    2. AJR37

      Re: GPS?

      Weird route to Rome, and certainly not the quickest. Does that route avoid toll road, too?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    'Reluctant' GPS

    "Apple does reluctantly fit GPS in its devices which have cellular data connections, "

    Can you explain how you know that Apple 'reluctantly' fits GPS into its cellular devices?

    Perhaps you were in a meeting back in the day with Steve Jobs et al and witnessed something we didn't?

    Or are you, as I suspect, bullshitting for dramatic effect?

  40. lotus49
    WTF?

    My wifi only iPad 2 has GPS. Also, there is a reason to use it with online maps. I have a wifi 3g modem (much better than paying for a contract that I can only use on my iPad) but even if I didn't, I could use my phone as a hotspot.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      My wifi only iPad 2 has GPS.

      No it doesn't.

      1. lotus49
        Unhappy

        You are right. For some reason I thought it had because the location services seemed to work well but now I have checked, I find that I was mistaken? You live and learn.

  41. Dave Bell

    The iPad Mini and the Nexus 7 are close enough to be compared. Apple wins on screen size, and has the double camera, and people I know say that the aesthetics of the Apps are better on Apple kit. The Nexus 7 has more pixels, and GPS.

    Not committed to either, I think the lower price of the Nexus 7 would tip the balance for me, but if you already have Apple kit, the price premium is worth it to stay compatible. Though it you want GPS, it wouldn't be so easy.

    I wouldn't rush to buy a Nexus 7 until the rumoured 32GB version comes out, and we see what that does to prices. I think that people do forget what the costs of changing can be, and what their time is worth. But there is the difference between the already captured, and the new customers. Some people will want GPS. Some people will read the stories about how Amazon behaves, and wonder who they should do business with. And some people will stick with whatever they have already chosen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I wouldn't rush to buy a Nexus 7 until the rumoured 32GB version comes out, and we see what that does to prices. I think that people do forget what the costs of changing can be, and what their time is worth."

      Indeed.

      Mind, I did rush, and I am very happy. However, I do have stuff on both Android and iOS, so could hit the ground running with useful apps in either ecosystem. I think you tacitly make a good point though- that should be a factor for some people.

  42. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Rotten Apple

    Wow - no GPS. Poor display. 2nd rate hardware. Yuck. I would have bought one if it had been any good, because that's what I do. I buy a new gadget many times a year. Funny how the iPad Mini isn't on the list...

    But I'm also presently pretty turned-off to Apple as a brand. Here's why. I was walking around our recently-opened local Apple Store for the first time, and one thing struck me more than anything else. Amongst the chatter, I kept overhearing the same phrase over and over again...

    "I'm sorry, there's nothing we can do."

    I heard this exact phrase three or four times in about 15 minutes. The crestfallen punter would then slide his reassuringly-expensive but defective laptop back into his backpack, wipe away his tears, and then shuffle out to consider his eventual suicide options.

    This observation shocked me to my core. Apple appears to be the exact opposite of what it is supposed to be.

    The only similar thing I've read about is how the Mercedes Smart car has a sealed engine that cannot be repaired, only replaced as a unit at a cost that is higher than the value of the car itself.

    These are examples of such weirdly perverted policy that I find myself disoriented.

  43. JaitcH
    FAIL

    The device "guesses" where it is by sniffing for nearby WiFi base stations

    I guess this perfectly matches Apple's Crappy Map App and relies on the theory two guesses DO make a right.

  44. Alan Edwards
    Happy

    It's in the chipset

    GPS is built-in to the cellular data chipset in the models that have cellular data. Non-cellular models don't have the cellular data chips, so no GPS.

    I wonder why Apple didn't put the cellular chips in them all, then charge £50 to over-the-air enable hardware you've already paid for? Same with flash memory - put 64Gb in them all, then charge to enable anything over 16Gb. They'd save because they are only building one model, they just need to be set up with whatever's been paid for on the way out of the door, and can be reconfigured on the fly.

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