Now that we have seen what appear to be legitimate scans of documentation from AT&T, we know that the iPhone will not have GPS. Note these statements.
Q. Why doesn’t the iPhone have GPS capabilities? A. GPS is not part of the iPhone feature set.
And this tidbit about TeleNav, although that doesn’t eliminate the possibility that it could be in development.
Google Maps on iPhone differs from current AT&T location tracking services in the following ways: … iPhone will not support the TeleNav solutions currently offered for other AT&T devices.
We’ve been getting lots of questions lately surrounding the new Apple iPhone from people wondering if there will be GPS in the iPhone. The one word answer is no, there will not be GPS in the iPhone. No, you won’t be able to connect a Bluetooth GPS receiver to it. And finally, No, you won’t be able to install (fill in the blank) type of GPS software. But…. that is only the short of the story.
But doesn’t the FCC now require that all new phones come with GPS?
Not really…. Not the GPS that readers here are probably most familiar with. While it has been awhile since I read exactly what the requirement is, the purpose of the requirement is that if you call 911 emergency personnel will have a way to approximate your location. This can be done with and without GPS technology.
Okay, so maybe the iPhone doesn’t have a full fledged GPS in it, but it has Bluetooth so I should be able to connect a Bluetooth GPS receiver to it, right?
Not necessarily. While Apple says the iPhone runs OS X, it really isn’t the OS X people use on a daily basis in their computers. Having Bluetooth doesn’t necessarily mean that you can pair it with any other Bluetooth device. For example the TomTom ONE has Bluetooth, but it cannot pair with mobile phones for hands free calling. It can only pair with mobile phones for a data connection. So just because two devices have Bluetooth doesn’t mean that they can communicate and work together… they must share a “profile”.
In the case of the iPhone it has been said that the iPhone will work to pair with a hands free Bluetooth accessory through the Bluetooth audio/hands-free profile. However it was also mentioned that you will not be able to wirelessly sync via Bluetooth. This indicates that the serial profile for data connections isn’t likely included. Bluetooth GPS devices use the serial profile for communications and therefore connecting a Bluetooth GPS would be impossible.
Well, what if something changes and you could use the location system setup for 911 to get your location, use wifi location technology, or connect a Bluetooth GPS…. Problem solved, right?
Sadly, no… problem not solved. Let’s assume one of those scenarios did work and your iPhone does know your location. Then what? You need some sort of application that is aware of and is constantly being fed your location. As it turns out, Steve Jobs has said that the iPhone will not support third party applications. So there would be no way to install any of the existing Mac GPS applications on your iPhone based on the information available today.
So am I like totally out of luck?
Not necessarily. First of all Cingular and Apple have said that they are jointly working on new applications for the iPhone that will be available in the months/years after the iPhone has become available. Second, since the iPhone won’t be available for another six months specifications can change… it wouldn’t be the first time Apple changed the specs for the better when a product was finally released although we have no information that will actually happen here. Third, I believe Apple must eventually allow third party developers access to make applications for the iPhone. After all, you can do that with competing smartphones running Windows Mobile and Palm.
Okay, okay… I get it…. but didn’t the iPhone Steve had during the Keynote, know where he was? It automatically showed his location in San Francisco.
Actually, it didn’t. (watch the video) He selected the location from a list of previously saved locations.
So what is our prediction? I believe the Apple iPhone will ship without any means to dynamically acquire your location. You will get what was demoed… Google maps. However in the future it is likely that the partnership between Apple and Cingular will offer an application, possibly as a monthly subscription, featuring turn by turn directions. Cingular already has a partnership with TeleNav and offers their product on certain phones. Therefore if I had to make a wild guess I would say that a TeleNav application for the iPhone via Cingular is a good possibility. This type of solution would also address the the small storage space on the iPhone since the maps would be dynamically downloaded over the Cingular network.