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TomTom clarifies iPhone GPS application plans

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Friday, June 13, 2008
News Categories: Apps + Games

Following a Reuters report claiming that GPS manufacturer TomTom plans to sell a navigation application for the iPhone, and the subsequent discovery of a line in the iPhone SDK agreement disallowing “real time route guidance,” a spokesperson from TomTom has come forward to clarify the company’s plans for the device. In an interview with MacGeneration (Translated link), Yann Lafargue of TomTom France revealed that while the company does have a navigation application running on the iPhone, it is unsure of whether or not it will release the software. Lafargue said the company wants to be sure that Apple will allow them to sell the software on the App Store, while stating that the restrictive clause in the SDK agreement is most likely Apple trying to protect itself from a liability standpoint, rather than an outright restriction. Finally, Lafargue added that while the company does work with other cellular manufacturers such as HTC, it is primarily focused on car navigation solutions.

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Comments

1

I was actually planning on upgrading on the basis of having turn by turn real time navigation on my iPhone thus negating the need to buy a separate stand alone GPS navigation system. I know apple is looking to cover it’s ### but can’t apple just put a disclaimer on the phone saying they are not responsible for 3rd party applications that tell you to make a left into a starbucks? I think that disclaimer should be enough to cover their ### and keep everyone happy.

Posted by Wil To on June 13, 2008 at 8:42 AM (PDT)

2

I have TomTom on my Palm Treo right now and it works great. Cost is now down to $99 from palm.com which includes a BT GPS and holder!

I am ready to buy TomTom for the iPhone as soon as it would come out and this is one of the reasons that I would switch to the new iPhone.

The Palm Treo has many benefits that Apple still does not have in the iPhone: Cut and Paste, external Bluetooth Keyboards, Video recording, global search, data beaming, removable storage, and removable batteries.  On the other hand the iPhone has superior software and I expect the Apps store to be awesome.

Posted by fred on June 13, 2008 at 9:27 AM (PDT)

3

Wil To, I totally agree. I real hope Apple wil throw us existing iPhone owners a bone and let us have the ability to buy TomTom’s GPS software.  It really is the only new feature on the 3G Iphone that I wish I had. 3G would be cool, but I really don’t do that much surfing anyway. But I have a feeling Apple won’t include it in their App store just to make us existing Iphone user buy the new phone to get it.

Posted by john_kc on June 13, 2008 at 11:40 AM (PDT)

4

@ john_kc: GPS software wouldn’t be of much use to 2G iPhones, even if they could buy them, because the 2G iPhone does not have GPS.

Posted by teaganc on June 13, 2008 at 10:01 PM (PDT)

5

Jobs is again misleading the world with his 199 price and now with the so called GPS as well. If the iPhone 3G doesn’t allow GPS navigation then it’s just as useless as the first one and it will be just as big a failure.

Posted by Ericc B on June 14, 2008 at 1:11 AM (PDT)

6

@ #5:

Nice way of largely invalidating any salient points you might have had by calling the iPhone “useless” and a “failure”.

The iPhone is hardly useless. It might be useless for _your_ needs because of lack of some certain feature you deem essential.

Since you apparently feel that the needs of one person determine the usefulness of a something for everyone else in the world, you should know that _I_ find elephants largely “useless” because they won’t seem to engage in witty banter at my dinner parties no matter how much alcohol with which I ply them…such a sorry “failure” of an animal, the elephant.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Posted by cyanmauve on June 15, 2008 at 7:28 AM (PDT)

7

What one thinks is never the determining factor for everyone else… unless you’re Jobs, or so it seems. The #5 poster is not right by any means… the iPhone was not a failure. But however in love with your device you might be, you still have to admit the fact that the cost you were made to sustain in order to own an iPhone is by no means justified by its capabilities. The resulting cost of the iPhone for those buying it in order to use it legally (by activating the contract they bought it with) is staggering for a device that is on par with a 2006 spec phone. The 3G might actually be a good option, but if corporate mechanics cripple it, then it’s going to be no more than a fashion toy… still. And that’s sad.

Posted by Andrew on June 15, 2008 at 12:56 PM (PDT)

8

The real reason for “the line” in the SDK license agreement is that map data providers hold all the keys. Apple integrates Google Maps on the iPhone, which in turn uses map data from various providers such as Tele Atlas or NAVTEQ (look at the copyright notice on the web-based Google Maps). These providers place very tough limits on what you can do with the data they give you under license, and for example forbid the real-time tracking of vehicles or objects.

A few years ago, when Microsoft released MapPoint 2005, they included a clause whereby any tracking data had to be delayed by at least 15 seconds, including one’s own location, or remotely-tracked objects. They did this after realizing many GPS locator providers started using MapPoint as a cheap alternative to licensing maps from the big providers, which could cost millions.

I believe TomTom will not have any problems adding their navigator to the iPhone, as they already license map data for real-time navigation, and thus don’t use Google’s maps.

Posted by Mike Puchol on June 16, 2008 at 2:57 AM (PDT)

9

Apple will allow TomTom on the iPhone, because:

1) Apple want to own the smartphone userbase
2) Apple want the iPhone to be a new platform that excites and attracts developers and users alike
3) TomTom would be a great addition to the iPhone
4) Apple will make money twice for every iPhone that’s sold just for TomTom: once on the hardware, and 30% of the software download price

It’s a no-brainer. The clause in the SDK is simply there to protect Apple from idiots why claim they got lost / had a car wreck because they used Apple’s Maps application for direction information.

Posted by Andy on June 16, 2008 at 5:41 AM (PDT)

10

@ Andrew
- Thanks for the actually useful GPS info, as opposed to the usual “this would be the greatest phone in the world if only it had this one feature I can’t live with” b.s. on blogs grin

Posted by Gerald on June 16, 2008 at 9:09 AM (PDT)

11

At #4
If Apple allows iPhone 1st gen to connect to a Bluetooth GPS device, then TomTom from the App Store would be a useful app for iPhone 1st gen users.

Posted by Stephman on June 16, 2008 at 12:03 PM (PDT)

12

Will the Tomtom application also have voice assistance? Or will it be a silently tracking device?

Posted by Bustin on June 16, 2008 at 7:03 PM (PDT)

13

Tom Tom is a great device to add on to the iphone.
I use it all the times when I travel, I often get lost.
my questions is that will Tom Tom have turn by turn speech?

Posted by mike on September 1, 2008 at 4:03 PM (PDT)

14

tom tom is a must - when I switched from XDA Orbit to Iphone I didnt think about whether tomtom could be installed - just assumed there would be a version available.

Am now using my XDA in sim free mode until Apple pull their fingers out!

Posted by mancgas on September 11, 2008 at 6:50 AM (PDT)

15

Yes, the day TomTom hits the Apple Store, I will sell my HTC Diamond and buy an iPhone.  It’s the only thing holding me back.  I wish they would hurry up the waiting is killing me.  Waiting also means competitors have more of a chance to catch up.  Do you want my money or not, Apple?

Posted by Shaun on October 24, 2008 at 9:45 PM (PDT)

16

is there anyone who can tell me how to develop GPS application for iphone using iphone SDK ????

Posted by Ticket-Directory on January 9, 2009 at 12:11 AM (PDT)

17

I’m not buying an iPhone until it can do voice navigation as good as my windows mobile phone has been doing for over a year now.  The TeleNav application is awesome.  Further, AT&T;bills you $9.95 on their monthly bill which for Telenav’s app is well worth it.  I’m not really excited about a Tom Tom app, especially since they won’t reveal the price.  I need new phone but I’ll stay away from the iPhone if the voice nav app is bad or if the pricing on their app is too high.

Posted by gil on June 8, 2009 at 5:04 PM (PDT)

18

Sorry follow-up…

This excuse about why Apple hasn’t allowed voice navigation apps is ridiculous.  If it were about accidents, shouldn’t they be just as worried about people making telephone calls while driving and getting into accidents?  Also, why doesn’t the “voice navigation apps causing accidents” bother other voice navigation application developers on phones other than Apple?  Telenav comes to mind… This just doesn’t make sense.

Posted by gil on June 8, 2009 at 5:16 PM (PDT)

19

The TomTom navigation on the iPhone will have voice navigation which also as an attatchment so it can me stuck onto your front window. in the attatchment, a speaker enhances the sound so its louder, it works as a hands free set, it also enhances the GPS signal and charges your phone at the same time! its an all in one device and its going to be damn awesome!!!

Posted by iJohn on June 23, 2009 at 5:32 PM (PDT)

20

Is or will Tomtom GPS application give “Live” information if subscribed to as with their own hardware display units? In the UK

Posted by Christopher Webb on October 28, 2009 at 7:44 AM (PDT)

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