Loc: Alexandria, VA
If you're planning on using the iPhone's GPS as ... well ... a GPS, *be warned*: it will NOT function without an internet connection ...
My letter to Apple Feedback follows:
I am writing to you in regards the "GPS" feature on the iPhone 3G (and 3GS as well, apparently) ...
I recently purchased the 3GS and am handing-down my "old" 3G unit to my mother. Unfortunately, she lives in in an area in which AT&T does not offer contracts, so she is unable to have an active telephone account. Accordingly, we are setting-up the 3G with as many functions that do not require a phone contract as possible ...
A reasonable assumption would be that the advertised GPS functionality -- since the Global Positioning System relies on line-of-sight contact with satellites -- would be one feature that would be active regardless if one has an AT&T account.
However, after jumping through MANY hoops, ranging from fiddling with network/Location Services settings, numerous resets, and absolute Restores, the GPS simply refused to acquire a signal as reported via MotionX, and the included Map application constantly was "unable to determine [my] location. I was sure there was something wrong with the unit, since it had worked for me previous to my purchasing the new iPhone and restoring the 3G to factory defaults ...
Imagine my surprise, then, upon contacting Apple Support regarding this behavior, that not only does the "Map" application included with the iPhone require a data plan in order to determine one's location, but that the "GPS" in the iPhone is not -- in the words of the support person -- "a real GPS," and requires an internet connection of some sort (wireless or AT&T network connection) in order to operate AT ALL!
Obviously, failing to mention the GPS' dependency on internet connectivity is a serious problem -- had I taken this unit to a remote hiking/camping/whatever location and expected it to operate as implied, there could have been serious negative consequences ...
Therefore, my Feedback suggestions would be to:
a) Include a functioning, independent GPS functionality in the iPhones b) In the meantime, make *clear* on your web pages/advertising that the GPS functionality requires a data plan and/or internet connectivity in order to function ...
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my iPhone. But this development is a *serious* disappointment ...
I actually asked the support person "If I'm on the Appalachian Trail or something -- in the middle of the woods with no phone or wireless access -- the GPS in the iPhone isn't going to be able to tell me where I am?" ...
He said no, the iPhone GPS isn't a "real" GPS like other devices and needs a data/internet connection ...
So, yeah, a bit disappointed, since one of the main reasons for handing-down the 3G was to let her be able to at least get her coords if she was lost someplace ... (of course, she would need a map or something to make use of them, but that's beside the point -- Find My iPhone can't even locate the 3G, for instance) ...
Anyways, definitely do not count on this outside of wireless/cellular range ...
Bah! Wrong forum -- probably belongs in the iPhone hardware spot =P
As I use my new iPhone I have found all that you have said to be true and it is indeed ridiculous. I have read everything that is connected to the iPhone and have found nothing that says that the GPS function will not work unless data can be retrieved.
Worst case scenario is you wake up in the valley and fire up the iPhone and assisted GPS cannot get a datalink so the GPS function is toast. I am not sure if this is true as I have not had a chance to mimic the possibilities but it sure would suck if it didn't work.
WAAS, and assisted GPS need data from the internet to be highly precise. WAAS can be picked off a geosynch satellite but assisted needs some data through the phone link. But without all of that a normal GPS should be able to function to within ten meters and with the built in compass this accuracy goes up.
I am waiting for the Tom Tom turn by turn software before I get irate but irate I will be if the iPhone cannot perform as well as a fifty dollar GPS receiver if it cannot data link.
I hope you are right. With 32 GB of memory I should be able to casually look at all areas in New England I would like to travel both in Satellite and map mode then by using the GPS chip on board go on my merry way without the phone having to call out for data.
At the least the Tom Tom software should be able to ask you where you are going while receiving cell phone and download all maps necessary to do the planned trip.
But there are tons of places I go that cell phone service does not exist. These areas are the handiest to actually know where you are. Not that I would rely on the iPhone but it should be available. just one story of "My family perished in Utah because my iPhone stopped working" will do the trick.
That is a surprising fact. I was finally going to get one as it could replace my GPS too, I travel places where there is no phone many times, and since I got a GPS a couple of years ago I find myself using it all the time.
As 6of1 has discovered, a very difficult fact to find out. I have read virtually everything there is about the GPS in this phone and it is still quite puzzling. The GPS chip is certainly not at fault. It is the newest low power chip around. It is the software layered on top. Seems simple but Apple and the phone company and the software and the Chip don't necessarily want to become too independent from each other. So a stupid policy of keeping data dump into the software to map might make it not as useful as a stand alone GPS.
I am holding my breath to see the Tom Tom software. If that software can download maps then go I will be happy. If I could download all maritime buoys for New England and topo for New England for 19.95 I would be ecstatic.
Loc: Alexandria, VA
Maybe since there is no real mapping software it needs all the other help to draw maps etc.
True, but a "real" GPS shouldn't need a map -- all it has to really do, at its core, is provide latitude and longitude and hopefully altitude as well ... all the rest -- mapping and stuff -- I can see needing the interweb to download. But it's just stunning that the GPS chipset itself is rendered useless without a connection ...
Loc: Alexandria, VA
Apparently, one of the big things about the Tom Tom solution is that the automobile mount will have a better GPS unit in it, along with an antenna, of course. So if one goes with their total software/hardware solution, you'll essentially be using the iPhone as a processor and display and letting the Tom Tom software/hardware do all the lifting ...
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