Posted Sep 13th 2012 1:01PM
The big news yesterday in the tech world (and most of the rest of the world) was the debut of the iPhone 5. If you have not yet been left with a feeling of inferiority due to your current device, this should put you over the top. The new iPhone will come with the Apple Maps app. Maps is Apple's rebuttal to the hugely popular Google Maps, and comes with a host of functionality.
One of the key features of the app is turn-by-turn navigation with voice prompts from Siri. Just like an in-car navigation system, as you approach a turn, a 3D view appears to better show the user where to turn. This may ruffle a few feathers at the wireless service providers, as many already offer paid-subscription navigation apps, such as AT&T Navigator, VZ Navigator and Sprint Navigation. According to Apple, you can use Siri to search for a destination and engage the navigation system, all by voice command.
Maps also offers real-time traffic data much like an advanced in-car GPS system. This will give users the option to select alternate routes as a way to bypass heavy traffic. The app also has a flyover feature that lets a user view a 3D replication of the map, with major landmarks presented in high resolution.
This is all well and good, but Apple also announced the new Lightning connector, which replaces the 30-pin connector to which we have become accustomed, and is more of a mixed bag in terms of in-car connectivity.
The new connector still works with USB ports, so any automaker that employs such an outlet in its vehicles will have no issue. Several automakers, however, have connection ports specifically built for the 30-pin connector. Apple will offer an adaptor for that setup, but that may not be enough.
The new 8-pin connector is fully digital, and is not able to transmit analog signals. Kia. Hyundai and older BMW models feature a connector that sends both USB and eighth-inch analog signals through the 30-pin connector. It appears Apple's adaptor will not work with the connectors provided by these vehicles.
The new app will be available with iOS 6, which is standard on the new iPhone 5. It will also be made available to compatible devices on Sept 19.