TomTom / Turn-by-Turn GPS On the iPhone 3G Still in Limbo?

iPhone 2.0 Geo Tagging!

Running out of things to say about the ongoing (and ongoing, and ongoing, and ongoing) TomTom and general turn-by-turn GPS on the iPhone saga?

Lucky for us, MSNBC's Suzanne Choney (via MacDailyNews) found out the big industry players certainly aren't.

Says TomTom:

"We have made our navigation system run on the iPhone; it looks good and works very well. We will have to look more closely to Apple’s strategy before we can say more about what kind of opportunities this will bring us."

Says Garmin:

"We’re always looking at new phone platforms to expand into for Garmin Mobile, but we don’t have any announcements regarding the iPhone at this time."

Says Magellan:

"[We do] not have immediate plans for this, but we are looking into it."

Wow, could Garmin and Magellan sound any less enthusiastic? Sure, they have to play their cards close to their vest (though TomTom is obviously faster and looser in that regard), but how about a little hype-jacking?

No matter. Smart money says we should see turn-by-turn soon-ish. However, given how 3G network connectivity, MobileMe, and some other functionality has rolled out (never mind cut and paste!), turn-by-turn is something that Apple (or TomTom, or whomever provides it), really can't afford to get wrong. 2.1 has already dropped push notification, so if turn-by-turn was even on the list, chances are it's been bumped down again. No matter how "complicated" it may be, they have to nail it from launch, or people will be more than just inconvenienced.

That is, depending on how badly we still want turn-by-turn GPS? Dieter is all over it, of course, but how high is it on your iPhone firmware fix wish list?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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TomTom / Turn-by-Turn GPS On the iPhone 3G Still in Limbo?


This is the only thing stopping me upgrading to the iPhone 3G at the moment. I wish they would sort it out asap, although I suspect apple are delaying in order to get their own routing software sorted.
Either way, I hope it comes soon, and please be with maps on internal storage rather than downloaded over 3G!
I use TomTom a LOT on my N95 and it's one of the only features I'm not prepared to give up for the iPhone :(

I already have a TomTom but would happily replace it if my iPhone could handle the task. I think its high on a lot of peoples wish list of applications.
I know at least two people that are waiting for this before purchasing.

Not really on the list at all for me.
1 I don't own or need a car
2 when I have had to travel and rent a car, the Maps software has been a good enough compromise, although it requires a bit more work not to get lost.

only if it can run in the background while I take calls and send emails.. the SDK terms sticking point.

FIX MY 3G PROBLEMS FIRST!!! Also, if TOMTOM is running on EDGE you won't be able to make/receive calls correct? That is a huge pain in the ass considering if you are using turn-by-turn directions you are probably going on a bit of a trip and not getting calls for that long would make the iPhone no longer a PHONE.
I have been using Google Maps happily (and phone calls come in while I am using it on Edge)... still perturbed about no MMS... seriously... get this up and running (or at least cut and paste so I can view MMS messages sent to me).
The iPhone is starting to become a jack of all trades and a master of none. Correcting this needs to be priority number one.

What a bunch of toolboxes, Iphone users are the first to wait in line for 3 days for a new product only so they can spend the following 6 months winging about it. There is not another device on the market that comes even close to approaching the overall functionality of the 3G Iphone. Get over it

Turn-by-turn is the only reason my Treo isn't in the trash yet. I still keep that thing around because my 3G won't do it - everything else about the 3G iPhone is pure gold, I just don't understand why in the world it doesn't do turn-by-turn. My 3.5 year-old Treo handles it beautifully via external bluetooth GPS and installed software; surely the 1 month-old 3G iPhone can handle that, too ... hit the nail squarely on the head."jack of all trades, master of none". stroll through the apps store. sure, the phone can do all that, but does it make it better?? I passed up the first one and waited (and WAITED) for this one only to be let down so far. I waited a year for flashlight?? 8 ball?? level?? no mms?? COMPLETELY useless bluetooth?? 10 different versions of the bible?? where are the "oh WOW" apps at? you can get $9.00 RAZR phones that do more than this thing. I think I will have to go dig out my Curve until this gets better...

TiPB ought to do some research on the why's behind this and break the story since the iphone press seems to love reporting this topic.
It might be something like this: Apple licenses significant parts of their map stuff from Google. Google licenses significant parts of their map stuff from several other vendors. Each license has certain restrictions.
If you dig around in the bowels of Google's developer site looking for info on required copyrights and license restrictions when using embeddable maps, you can get a lot of details of what is and isn't allowed for what sets of data and who the original source is that is putting those restrictions...

I run a multi-million dollar business. I'm on the phone all day. I have both iphones. They both SUCK..! I'd love to smash mine agaist a wall.

To H22Kai:
Maybe you should learn a bit more before you run your mouth. TomTom doesn't run on "Edge" or 3G. It always uses locally accessible maps (ie. ON the iphone). Which means you can turn off ALL data and TomTom would still work. But seriously - don't let that stop you from holding your breath and throwing a temper tantrum...
TomTom is a very simple matter to implement.
To Scott:
Curious really what you were expecting to get with the iPhone 3G? Were you expecting it to sing you sleep at night? Drive your car for you? Do you really have a BlueTooth issue (mine runs flawlessly - and I don't know of any outstanding problems with BT???)

“how high is it on your iPhone firmware wish list?”
IT is def!! the most important app i could get on the iPhone right now!

It's number 2 on my wishlist right behind slingbox. Number 3 would be MMS which should really be embarrassing to Apple at this point.

To Daniel W:
WRT to BT working flawlessly... So you can do file transfer from your iPhone to another phone can you? You can transfer contacts from an old phone to your iPhone can you? You can connect A2DP enabled headphones to your iPhone and listen to stereo music can you? The answer to all of the above is no, you cannot. Apple has crippled one of the best BT chips on the market because they are greedy gits and are trying to rake in as much cash as possible - can't fault em, but is a bit annoying... Using a handsfree kit is fine, but anything else BT wise is crippled...

I have a Nokia 9300i with TomTom mobile 5. It works great (most of the time). I want iphone to run TomTom so I can switch. BUT here's a thing; if I get a phone call, and or a text message while TomTom is running, the Symbian 80 software and Tom Tom's Mobile 5 cannot cope. The fact that TomTom can make their software work is one thing, the need for it to work and still be a phone is most likely THE problem. Neither Nokia / Synmbian nor TomTom have fixed it to date. Now TomTom and / or Apple have to agree to fix it, so that the iPhone will work continuously as both a phone and a navigation device concurrently.

I am hoping for TomTom for iPhone where the maps reside on the iPhone. GPS is via satellite, right??? Isn't the real issue that iPhone GPS currently has a reliance on Google Maps which requires the internet connection. This would also enable offline planning of routes without GPS signal.

There is an app called air sharing which means you can transfer any data between phones or computers via blue tooth so that issue is fixed. I WANT TURN BY TURN NOW i can't believe it is not here yet also where is the ebay app that apple keeps going on about. at least apple could come out and start admitting the phone has flaws and that they are working on it and give a rough date to when they think that some things such as tbt will be released

Same problem as Paul for me, I use TomTom on a Nokia E65 and it's the only reason why I'm not rushing out to get the iphone. Get tomtom working on it, i'd have one tommorrow!!!

I have air sharing and who told you it works over BT. It works over the 802.11 wireless connection.That means if your out and about and not connected to a wireless network it doesn't work. So BT issue still exists. What it boils downto is the iPhone 3g I'd a flawed product. That's not to say i don't love it. If they were to fix a few things, push notifications, full Bluetooth, mms, copy and paste, flash and java support in safari and turn by turn GPS it would be the best phone by a mile. As it stands it's just the best touch phone out there.

Extremely High!! You guys from the US probably won't realize this given the size of the country but over here in Europe you're crossing boundaries in no time, which means .. roaming .. aaaargh. So using Google Earth is (or whatever service that implies use of online-based maps) is no option. A visit to some city outside your country can add up to your phone bill quite nicely.
I'm really interested in a Tomtom solution. Not for the turn-by-turn aspects but for the offline maps they provide. Otherwise using the iPhone as a GPS/navigation device in a foreign city is not even an option.

yup - currently running WM6 tomtom 6 with all european and US maps. couldn't be without it - therefore no iPhone yet. not having turn by turn makes iPhone look old fashioned today. despite having the best user interface currently available in a phone and possibly anywhere.

Well i just bought an iphone 3G because i found out it has GPS, this way i dont have to buy a standalone TomTom. So for me that implicated i could install of have onboard Turn by Turn Navigation. I feel really conned by Apple! They should listen more to their customers!

re: Allard -
TomTom announced the development Navi software for iphone in June2008 but no news at all atm. I'm currently using my jailbroken iphone and using 3rd party offline map application. I work flawlessly with GPS signal fully function too, but it lacks of turn-by-turn speech and on-the-fly re-routing calculation that real GPS navi providing. Here's is my suggestion - buy GPS receiver if you often drive on unfamiliar roads or highways. However, if you just use in local city, then keep iphone with offline map and wait for TomTom or Netnavi software.

I'm also waiting with candles the TomTom software for iphone 3G, i'll pay for it! c'mon TomTom and Apple, what are you waiting for? WE NEED IT!, I really think that this is a Apple Matter, smells like they are putting concerns on the sell of TomTom on their itunes store... (may be because of the huge size of it 2-3 Gigs?) Hopefully they will solve this soon, but SOLVE IT SON!

I'm going to wait with getting an Iphone until i can use a tomtom like application. It's ridiculous it's being blocked while technically possible.
My current contract runs out in a month, if Apple has not at least set a date on which this will be possible i' m just going to get some other phone.
I think people who have bought an iphone should sue because apple did not clearly state the gps feature can't be used as the word has come to suggest lately...
People dont say route66/tomtom gps navigation, they say "I have got a gps so i'il find my way"
This is misdirection and damaged my willingness to get an Iphone 3G

I still won't buy an iPhone till TomTom is released for it. Currently I run it on an O2 XDA Exec phone as it's the only viable option. So, hurry up TomTom. If you released today I'd buy it tomorrow whatever the price and whatever the longevity is for the product. And judging from the aount of people that want it you'd make a killing from it. Think of all those sales you've missed out on already. over 10million users and a large number of which are GPS freaks.

I have a Treo with TomTom and LOVE it. Will not buy an iPhone until it has real GPS not fauxGPS. I just hope my Treo will last that long.

Are you saying that you actually have gps software running using an external gps receiver and that you get turn by turn directions? If so, which software application is it as I'd like to give it a go?

I'm really upset abt not having TomTom on my iPhone 3G, knowing that turn by turn GPS whas one of the main reasons of why i bought my iphone. I thought it would be the all in one solution for me, but it's not yet... (sold my TomTom 720 to a friend)... and now i have to use the shitty google map's app wich is worthless when you are on the road... hope Apple wont put more delays on the release of TomTom (i've been at a techtalk and they say the limit for an iphone app is 2 Gigs, so, that may be the problem on selling it at the appstore...) Apple, just get that limit higher at least for TomTom only.. c'mon make all of us a favor.
Ben - Spain

Well, I hope someone from Apple reads this. I believe that the reason for not having turn by turn GPS app on iPhone 3g is political, not technical. And for that reason I am seling my iPhone (which I should NOT have bought in the first place!) and getting a real GPS phone. Simple as that!

It is number 1 for me too. After leaving WinMo for iPhone 3g I'm back to carrying out my phone and sat nav for car journeys when one could do both.
As a side note, I don't understand all this moaning about MMS - who uses MMS..?

I use to have a HP phone that build in gps i been using this phone but the hp big now the 3g in my will be the best phone ever with the turn by turn. waiting for it

Glad this forum exists - it means I won't buy an iphone either until it has the TomTom app. As soon as it does I'll buy it for its all round ability assuming I haven't got bored and bought a Nokia instead!
Come on Apple - come clean and be honest about what the is causing the delay, acknowledge that the issue is being worked and give us a clue as to when we can get in the queue to buy one!

I'm in Dubai at the moment and wanted to use my iPhone gps to get me around without using it as a phone. I took the sim out and it now records the GPS coors, but unless I'm in range of a free wireless service (not the common in Dubai) I don't get any maps. So the sooner TomTom and Apple sort this out the better! I'll be first in the queue to buy it!

MMS? There is an app that does this. What is everyone moaning about? People shouldnt buy the iphone if they dont fully understand the gps capabilities - it has gps not sat nav!