iPhone Life magazine

More detail on iPhone 3.0; may include a compass

The Internet was abuzz yesterday when Apple iPhone Apps published specs of iPhone 3.0 that it said came from a reliable source — and in the process overwhelming that website's server. So head on over and see what the excitement is about. One interesting tidbit is that it's again reporting that iPhone 3.0 will include a built-in compass. This was also reported by Fortune magazine.

Big deal. With all the location features you already have, and given the relative inaccuracy of a magnetic compass, what's the point? But an interesting post in the Comments section offers a titillating possibility: "[W]hat the compass really gets you is a way to know if the phone has been turned about a vertical axis. . . . Take Google Earth on the iPhone -- tilt the phone up and down and the view changes accordingly. But move it side to side (rotate about a vertical axis) and nothing changes. Why? Because the phone doesn’t know side-to-side. With an internal compass, you can now sense that rotation. That changes the info an app can get. This feature is more apt to change games than navigation (imagine a first-person shooter where you have to actually spin about to look behind you and you’ll get the idea)."

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Jim Karpen's picture

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.