Waze is a neat app that not only offers GPS navigation but also uses "crowdsourcing" to help make available real-time traffic updates. Users can send alerts as they drive so that others can avoid problems. The recently released holiday version of Waze offers a holiday theme with a treasure hunt that gives you the opportunity to win real prizes. According to their press release, they added what they call "road goodies" – small icons worth bonus points – to the map in areas where the waze system has identified map problems.
There's not much need for this in Fairfield, Iowa, but if I were a city guy I'd depend heavily on this app. Am I the sort of person who'd forget where he parked his car? Not really, but I'm the sort of guy who worries that he will forget where he parked his car. An app like this lets you relax and forget. Park'n Find uses GPS to mark where your car is parked. It then guides you back to your parking location using a satellite image that automatically pans and zooms to show where your car is parked relative to where you are. You can optionally attach photos, voice memos, and notes.
I badly want Waze to be a success because the idea is just so perfect: a free navigation app that integrates user-generated traffic information. So, you're stuck in traffic someplace, you whip our your iPhone, and let the world know that they ought to take a different route if they're traveling the same road that you are. It's a wonderful example of crowdsourcing. The trick is to get lots of people to use it. And increasingly people are. But if you live someplace where there's not much coverage, the app has less value than other places where it's really caught on.
Spyglass ($0.99) is yet another creative use of your iPhone's camera. You can view your environment via the iPhone camera and digitally zoom in in up to 5x. In addition, the app uses augmented reality to superimpose compass and GPS information as well as horizon tilt right over the live camera feed. You can also enable the maps feature and have the same information superimposed on a map.You'll need an iPhone 3Gs plus an Internet connection to use the maps feature.
If you've been paying close attention, as most developers do, to the App Store, you may have noticed some changes.
- New Releases only show BRAND NEW apps, i.e. version 1.0
- Updates are not included in the New Releases
This is potentially a good thing for users but there are some downsides.
The good news is, you won't have to search through old apps to find new gems. It might also discourage developers from submitting minor updates just to be featured on the New Releases page. That will also cut down on approval time as fewer apps need to be reviewed.
Want to thank everyone for the great support and comments in our recent giveaway of AT&T Navigator software. Want to especially thank Telenav for sponsoring it. The winners are listed below along with instructions on claiming complimentary subscription services. I wish everyone could have won, but if you didn't this time, remember to please tune into our blogs regularly for more great contests in the future.
There is still one day left in our giveaway of free AT&T Navigator subscriptions. Get your navigation-related comments up here or on the original post by Saturday, 24 Oct 2009 (11PM EST) for a chance to win one of 3 copies. See original post and rules here...
Telenav, the developers behind the AT&T Navigator application have released an update that now incorporates landscape view and also integrates iPod controls into the application. They have generously offered up 3 one-year subscriptions, so get a related comment up here about your favorite GPS services/apps to have a chance to win a copy (deadline: Saturday, 24 Oct 2009, 11PM EST). YouTube video and contest rules after the break...
Apple recently announced a major shift in how they treat free apps and I have been mulling over what it means to developers, in addition to end users.
In the past, "In-App Purchases", or the ability to add features to an app, were only available for paid apps. Free apps could not be upgraded, short of purchasing the paid version separately. Now, users of these free apps can purchase upgrades.
On one hand, more choices are a good thing. But I have some concerns.
Where To? is offering an introductory price of .99 until August 23, so this is a good opportunity for you to try this app. It uses the iPhone GPS to give you local information, such as the nearest steakhouse, bank, or movie theater. Version 2.0 was recently released and uses several of the new features available in iPhone 3.0, such as having a built-in map to display results right within the application. It has an appealing interface, as you can see from the image, that lets you quickly drill down to what you want without your having to do any typing.