Use access key #2 to skip to page content.

Apple's Hilarious iPhone GPS update

Recs

17

January 16, 2008 – Comments (7)

IMG_1769

My poor colleague, TMF iPhone. She thought Stevie and Co. had really given her something for nothing with the craptastic new software update for her iPhone that promised "GPS Navigation." Well that's what she heard.

What Apple promises is that the phone can find your location based on information from nearby wifi stations or cell towers.

If by "location," Jobs (and his hilarious lookalike) mean "what city you're in," then mission accomplished, sort of. Look up at that picture. That's what her iPhone tells her for her location. Near as I can tell, the area of that circle is about 4.5 square miles. So, she knows she's in Alexandria, Va. But she already knew that. To be fair, for a while this morning, it found her location in a tigher radius, with the circle covering only 2-3 square miles

Here's what amuses me. If Microsoft had touted this kind of semi-worthless "feature," in a product, it would be roundly pilloried (with good reason.) Apple fans, like Oprah watchers, just clap and admire. That's iLife for ya. 

P.S., Alyce Lomax gets the wag of the day award for this decription of the MacBook Air: It's beautiful. It's skinny, and it can't do much. It's like a supermodel.

I agree, and suspect that all the boys will want one anyway. 

7 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On January 16, 2008 at 1:16 PM, MRTShorts (99.33) wrote:

lmao, this is truth!

Report this comment
#2) On January 16, 2008 at 1:57 PM, VossPiety (98.84) wrote:

If this feature is anything like my 3 hand held gps receivers the circle of accuracy is always drawn fantastically huge compared to the actual accuracy. So much so that I just ignore the thing, it's pretty much worthless.

The way to actually judge how good the accuracy is would be to zoom in that map, if that is possible, and eyeball it.

And now that I think about it, the position you got there is actually superior to what I get on my cheap gps downtown. The big buildings just block the signal to much to actually keep a lock. 

And Apple enabled this function for free? Looks like a nice feature to me right now and my guess is the triangulation software will only get better. 

 

 

Report this comment
#3) On January 16, 2008 at 2:08 PM, QualityPicks (52.17) wrote:

I heard this complaint before. It is very valid depending where you are.

I have an iPhone (which I love, not it is not perfect, but the best phone ever period) and I was expecting the above results, so I just saw this feature as a "starting point" which would save me from typing the name of the city I'm in. So at home, in Irvine CA, I updated my phone and then pressed the location button. The pin dropped right next to my house in the Google maps with virtually GPS like precision. I was amazed. I thought "Is there a cell phone tower next to my house or what?"

Then I watched the keynote presentation and Jobs says that in addition to triangulating your position from cell towers, they use a technology from another company (forgot the name) where some dudes drove around with WiFi antenas and GPS systems on their car roofs all over the country and mapped millions of WiFi hotspots to the GPS coordinates. I'm thinking these guys drove next my house :) At the office, the area was about a 1 mile radius, so not as good.

Regarding the Macbook Air, I think it is a cool product but it is somewhat limited functionality. I wish they came out with another one that was a bit thicker, but had a 15" screen, much bigger hard drive, and faster processor.

Movies rentals is awesome I think and will add tons of revenue to Apple. I'm very tempted to buy an AppleTV, but I had higher expectations for the device (like BlueRay drive and TiVo like functionality) so I'm a bit dissapointed,

Report this comment
#4) On January 16, 2008 at 2:34 PM, TMFBent (99.81) wrote:

I don't think there's any reason to believe that the triangulation software will solve this problem. This is a kludged-up pseudo-positioning system that is great if you're kidnapped and the cops want to know where to begin looking for the bottom half of your carcass (assuming you keep your phone there), but it will never be a viable navigation tool.

The real way to make this actually work is for apple to shove a GPS chip in the phone, as other companies have done, and use signals designed for this purpose.

But I'm not sure I want people having more excuses to squint at their phones while they're driving.

Report this comment
#5) On January 16, 2008 at 3:31 PM, TMFBent (99.81) wrote:

Oh, and in case anyone's wondering what that curly-Q is in the lower left corner, it's broken glass. The screens on these are pretty fragile, and the product design means that drops to the case are transferred quite efficiently to the glass. Too 'spensif to replace, too.

Report this comment
#6) On January 16, 2008 at 5:46 PM, TMFBent (99.81) wrote:

"The way to actually judge how good the accuracy is would be to zoom in that map, if that is possible, and eyeball it."

Not really. The circle is to show that it doesn't know where in that area you are. If you zoomed in and happened to see your location, it wouldn't increase the accuracy of the feature, it would just mean you found yourself on a map. (I can do that on my non-location-finding samsung blackjack with any number of maps services...)

As for a GPS unit not being better than this, I think you better return it to the shop. The circle in that picture represents and area of more than 4 square miles. I've had (real) GPS units since they first came on the market, and I've never encountered one that could only tell me where I was to within the nearest mile and a half... The one I wear on my wrist when I'm running is two years old and accurate to within a few meters.

Report this comment
#7) On January 16, 2008 at 5:49 PM, TMFBent (99.81) wrote:

Movies rentals is awesome I think and will add tons of revenue to Apple. I'm very tempted to buy an AppleTV, but I had higher expectations for the device (like BlueRay drive and TiVo like functionality) so I'm a bit dissapointed,

Get an Xbox. You can play games on it, rent movies, play iPod or other content, and play DVDs too. And you're only monopolizing a single set of connectors with a product that does a lot of different stuff. And the movies you can download are truely HD. Takes a long time to collect them, though. Big files don't move that fast.

Report this comment

Featured Broker Partners


Advertisement