I have been chatting to quite a few people lately about the eagerly awaited 3G iPhone which is soon to be released in South Africa (if you haven’t heard about it yet, you must be hiding under a seriously large rock my friend). One of the topics being hotly debated (apart from the obvious pricing issue of course) is that of the A-GPS (assisted GPS) navigation functionality on the new iPhone.
Touted as the latest in GPS technology, A-GPS is quite simply the addition of cellphone tower and Wi-Fi hotspot triangulation calculations, to the standard GPS signal. Whilst this is not really new technology, it is a first for it to be included in a device like this in this country. There is, of course, no information on this particular feature of the phone on the Vodacom.co.za website (where you can pre-order the iPhone in South Africa) and I have my reservations about the relevance of the information, as provided on the Apple.com website, regarding the 3G iPhone’s GPS navigation functionality for South African users.
From the Apple.com website:
“Find your location, get directions and see traffic — all from your phone… …Maps on iPhone shows you live traffic information, indicating traffic speed along your route in easy-to-read green, red and yellow highlights…”
Location? Directions? Well yeah of course, just don’t bank on the traffic information in South Africa though, since we don’t yet have a TMC (Traffic Message Channel) system in place in this country (give it another year or two – they are working on it but are still in the early stages of dealing with ICASA and licensing of the FM frequencies. They also still need to get a massive government buy-in for this system).
Also on the Apple.com website:
“Just like Google Maps on your computer, Maps on iPhone lets you switch between map view, satellite view and a hybrid view of both. Multi-Touch makes the difference: Tap to zoom, pan and change your view on the move…”
Ummm… Ok Great, but please stop to consider the present poor quality (level of detail) of, and coverage of, South Africa on the Google maps, as well as the following warning buried in the small print on their website:
“Maps, directions and location information depend on data collected by third parties. These data services are subject to change and may not be available in all geographic areas, resulting in maps, directions or location information that may be unavailable, inaccurate or incomplete.”
It is not stated exactly which mapset they will be using for South Africa and, since a GPS navigation system is only as good as the maps that are being used, I seriously wonder just what sort of navigation functionality we will be getting.
Personally though, I can’t wait to get my grubby little paws on my own iPhone (for all those other features of course) and test it for myself and I would be really interested to know whether you will be queuing for one and if so, why? Please drop your comments in the box below…