New screenshots taken from a debugging menu in the latest iPhone OS 3.0 beta suggest that Apple is planning to add a magnetometer to future iPhone models. The shots, published by the Boy Genius Report, show a toggle switch for logging “Compass” information, along with Location, GPS, Motion, and Accelerometer info. Evidence of a magnetometer was first found in early April, with the term magnetometer specifically referenced inside a configuration file. The inclusion of a magnetometer would allow applications to understand not just where users are, but in which direction they are facing, allowing for features not presently possible on the iPhone platform. Examples could include automatic rotation of Google Street View information based on the orientation of the user, the overlay of information about the business, building, or venue the user is looking at, or the ability to place accurate star map information on the screen that corresponds with the part of the sky the user is facing. [via Mac Rumors]
More evidence of magnetometer found in iPhone OS 3.0
Charles Starrett was a senior editor at iLounge. He's been covering the iPod, iPhone, and iPad since their inception. He has written numerous articles and reviews, and his work has been featured in multiple publications.