iPhone compass evidence surfaces
Go west, young man
It appears that at least one upcoming iPhone will include a digital compass in support of Apple's ongoing fascination with location-based services.
The evidence for this new bit of internal iPhone hardware comes from a screenshot of an iPhone 3.0 debugging menu obtained by The Boy Genius Report that lists in its location services options a built-in magnetometer.
Credit: The Boy Genius Report
In the iPhone (and possibly soon in Snow Leopard), location services are provided by the CoreLocation framework, which is fed data from the iPhone's built-in GPS, plus cell phone-tower triangulation and Wi-Fi positioning data.
Now - if the purloined screenshot is accurate - those location services will be augmented by directional data provided by an in-phone compass.
An in-phone compass, however, wouldn't be an Apple innovation. Google demoed a compass-equipped Android handset at its I/O developer conference last May.
But an iPhone with such a capability would fit in nicely with Apple's location-based services vision, which includes serving ads based on your whereabouts, adding informational overlays to camera grabs using a technique called "augmented reality," and a variety of route-guidance services.
With the addition of a compass, CoreLocation would know not only where you are, but which direction you - well, your iPhone, at least - are pointed. ®
I believe it's actually an Intel innovation...
Title says it all, Google and Apple are just licensing it....
Like to see you try...
The iPhone has accelerometers not Gyros! ie they detect Linear acceleration changes , caused by either tilt (accl due to G) or movement G forces. They do not detect angular accn that is a gyro. However a hall effect surface mount sensor chip is 2mm and doesn't fuck up.
Location Based Services
Most location based services are rubbish anyway. I've never wanted or needed to find my nearest Starbucks using my phone. Also I find it very easy to remember where I parked my car...
There are some good ones too though, things like geotagging on images if that counts.
If you are hiking a real physical compass would be more useful surely? What if the phone runs out of battery and you didn't bother bringing a real compass?
I'd rather save the phone battery incase I got lost/injured and use it for making a call.
A LOT of the apps on the iPhone adverts are things Apple TELL me I need to have...Where as I don't even have an iPhone and get by just fine in day to day life.
I do like technology, I love it infact, so it's nothing against the tech used for these things, just that most apps are a novelty (not just for an iPhone but for a lot of mobile devices)
I've got a compass in my heel and it cost considerably less than an iPhone.
GPS, as someone above has mentioned, tells you direction, internal gyroscope knows the orientation and phone's intrinsic movement. Just set (and from time to time adjust) the direction of the movement when the phone uses GPS and align it with the gyroscope. Voila - compass-like action, and you may even tilt your phone slightly. No extra battery-consuming gadgetry needed.
Those who want extra hardware in their phone must either not need the battery or they enjoy putting bricks in their pocket. One thing is sure - they're short on imagination, as solutions for most problems are already within reach with existing hardware.
By the way, what's this "at least one upcoming iPhone" nonsense? I just saw a commercial on TV yesterday for iPhone that showed a rotating compass and said "you want to know which way you're going on a hike.... there's an app for that"