Sunday, March 18, 2012

iOS 6 brings turn-by-turn navigation; Apple licenses TomTom content

Apple has provided a sneak preview of iOS 6, letting us know that turn-by-turn navigation is coming to the next version of the iPhone and iPad operating system (click the image above for a larger view).

While there are many data suppliers, TomTom gets top billing. We don’t have much information on the deal. In probably their shortest news release ever, the company said:

TomTom has signed a global agreement with Apple® for maps and related information. No further details of the agreement will be provided.

The announcement sent TomTom shares higher even though they will undoubtedly lose many app purchasers. The new navigation functionality offers a traffic view with incident overlay, using fresh anonymized data from iOS users. There’s no word on whether or not that data will be shared with TomTom, but I’m sure they made a good case for it.

Navigation and 3D flyover (shown below) will only work on the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and later models. If you want to check out the maps and navigation announcement yourself, watch this video starting at about the 98:35 mark.

One of the things I like is the quick route button, which then brings up a choice of routes. I’d tell you how many taps it takes to start routing in Google Maps Navigation, but I keep losing count.

The maps are vector-based and Siri seems to be well integrated, allowing you to do things like search along the route. Also of note, turn-by-turn navigation works from the lock screen. It was not explicitly stated if the turn-by-turn navigation functionality would be offered for free, but that seems to be what most folks are assuming.

As part of the maps app update, Apple is no longer relying upon Google for maps. And lest this sounds too much like a fanboy piece, this Android user will conclude by pointing out that Google has offered free turn-by-turn navigation for two and a half years now.


About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. They’re not always first to the party but Apple certainly attracts the most attention. Mostly by making things easy to use. 🙂

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