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New iPhone has GPS!
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John Carter

Locale: Pacific Northwest
New iPhone has GPS! on 06/09/2008 12:52:03 MDT Print View

You heard it here first--I predict the iPhone will be the GPS of choice for backpacking.

New phone has improved battery life--700 hours standby.

Just announced 10 minutes ago...

EDIT... looks like 300 hours standby. Of course this is meaningless, since presumably a hiker would have the phone portion turned off.

Edited by jcarter1 on 06/09/2008 14:03:24 MDT.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: New iPhone has GPS! on 06/09/2008 13:02:16 MDT Print View

Interesting. Good eye.

The convergence of a small, light device for communication and gps makes sense. The battery is probably the key piece.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: New iPhone has GPS! on 06/09/2008 13:06:04 MDT Print View

It's not waterproof either huh. Would that affect your depending on it in the field? Heading to learn more about this new one now.

Is anybody really using a phone as their gps? For the iphone, the GPS mention seems a blurb according to those writing about the announcement. At this point it's for in car use with no real gps apps built in for backcountry use. Who knows what will happen in the future.

Edited by jshann on 06/09/2008 13:34:07 MDT.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Garmin Colorado 300 Buyer's Remorse on 06/09/2008 13:48:24 MDT Print View

This may be slightly off topic but for comparison sake future GPS customers might want to know. Maybe the I-Phone GPS will be better (than the Garmin Colorado).

Unfortunately for me I recently purchased a Garmin Colorado 300 GPS. It seems I'll be downloading firmware upgrades every few months for the forseeable future until Garmin gets it right.

FIRST off Garmin needs to make the topo map background A MUCH LIGHTER COLOR!!! Yegads! Dark green??!!?? How about light tan? light green? even light chartruse?

SECOND Garmin needs to delete "automatic" jumping back TO the topo map from some functions. (Grrrrr!)

THIRD Garmin needs to make the firmware accept an EIGHT GB SD card so you can download all the United States topo maps, not just about half of them on a 4 GB SD card.

FOURTH Garmin needs to permit you to ADD ON topos W/O having to erase everything you've stored and begin again for every new topo addition. (Double Grrrrr!)

There's more I'd suggest but you get the idea - the Colorado series is not quite ready for prime time. It's a work in progress. Fortunately Garmin is busily upgrading their firmware...and hopefully the difficult-to-read background color on their topo software.


John Carter

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: iPhone GPS on 06/09/2008 14:28:25 MDT Print View

Of course this is all pending a 3rd party topo app. But this is only a matter of time. And it presumes good accuracy.

As for waterproof, Garmin will always have the edge. That said, phones are built to be more weather resistant than many other electronics, since they tend to be used and abused more. For example, many phones cover their circuitry with a laminate to protect the circuitry from short-circuiting, so that they stand a better change of working again when left to dry.

For a phone, though, the iPhone seems as about as rugged as one can get without being 'ruggedized,' with a metal frame, optical glass face, very few buttons and no moving parts. I personally would feel comfortable with an iPhone in a good silicone case inside an Aloksak.

Edited by jcarter1 on 06/09/2008 14:29:12 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Garmin Colorado 300 Buyer's Remorse on 06/09/2008 17:10:45 MDT Print View

Hi Eric

> THIRD Garmin needs to make the firmware accept an EIGHT GB SD card so you can download all the United States topo maps, not just about half of them on a 4 GB SD card.

I do NOT know what the interface is on the Garmin and the SD cards. But I do note that 4 GBytes takes a 32 bit address, and if that is the limit of the processor inside the Garmin then they may not be able to expand any further.
Repeating: this is just a guess.

John Carter

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: iPhone GPS on 06/09/2008 17:44:38 MDT Print View

TomTom has just confirmed they have a working version of their street navigation software on the iPhone. I would hope this confirms the iPhone's GPS is a true stand-alone GPS (i.e. does not REQUIRE assistance from cell towers).

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: re: iPhone GPS on 06/09/2008 21:26:06 MDT Print View

p.s... the new iPhone is also half the price... starting at $199 for the 8GB model and $299 for the 16GB model.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Re: re: iPhone GPS on 06/09/2008 22:09:27 MDT Print View

The New Iphone is $200 cheaper up front, but over a 2 year contract is now $240 more money (the data plan is $30 a month versus previous $20 a month), so it's really $40 more expensive but I think worth it for the speed and gps features and the 2.0 software features.

Edited by marti124 on 06/09/2008 22:10:15 MDT.

John Carter

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: iPhone GPS on 06/10/2008 02:54:45 MDT Print View

Okay, last post, I promise. Apple's website states that the iPhone automatically turns the GPS on when needed and off when done to maximize battery life. This bodes well for battery life and ease of use. It can be quite clumsy to turn GPS on an off if you just want a quick fix on the map to verify your location (and don't have it on all the time for active tracking). I can easily see a topo program written that keeps the GPS on when tracking, but otherwise keeps it off except when you 'ping' your location. But here I go speculating about non-existent software again...

(jhaura) - F

Locale: Trail
Re: iPhone GPS on 06/10/2008 10:29:13 MDT Print View

A data plan is not required to use an iPhone, so it is indeed way cheaper. Unlocked versions will abound shortly after launch, just like the first version. (Unless they've figured out how to block that, but I doubt it). Plug in your sim card and use whatever network you have so long as it is GSM (Tmobile and ATT for example in the US). You only need a data plan (with whatever carrier you use) if you want to use cellular data features like 3G. With built in wifi, that is less likely to be needed.

Celia Clause
(eli_northwest) - F
Now there are some topo apps on 03/18/2009 09:19:13 MDT Print View

I found a few topo applications for the iphone that have just been released in the last week. This one looks nice. Seems to be the most like a real hiking gps.

Amy Lauterbach
(drongobird) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: iPhone GPS on 08/30/2011 14:53:59 MDT Print View

This is an old thread, but it comes up when I search for iPhone gps, so I thought I'd update with more current reference info in case others are mining old data. I'm continuously on the search for new iPhone gps apps, so I've been mining forums to find reference to apps I missed.

I am maintaining an annotated list of iphone gps apps with info about all the apps I've found. If you know of apps that I've missed, or know of important updates that make my comments inaccurate, please PM me with the info, or just reply to this thread.

And here's our article about using iPhone as Backpacking GPS/Mapping device with some critical information about maintaining battery life.