iPhone 3G: Mobile GPS Still in its Infancy

The iPhone is fundamentally altering my perception of being mobile (in a good way) though I’m not without some tinfoil hat paranoia about using GPS in the iPhone 3G to track us or some stalker stumbling across the GPS coordinates of a photo just taken and instantly submitted by my daughter, and traveling to that location to do God knows what.

Rather than succumb to fear or risk attitudes, I’m instead going to briefly describe my observations about why this capability, ease of use and just plain fun aspects of the iPhone is pointing the way to the future of interpersonal communications and access to anything you and I deliver via the Web.

I’ve purchased or downloaded free GPS-driven applications (see a few below). From uploading photos with coordinates, to seeing restaurants, coffee shops and other outlets in my vicinity, to using services like Locly to see Flickr images, Twitter tweets and other inputs by others near where I happen to be, you can begin to foresee the possibilities of location and presence awareness when you have a GPS-driven device that’s with you all the time.

Searching for, say, an HDTV pulls up Google results that show retailers near you. Friends located nearby are (if they allow their presence to be telegraphed) available to be seen by you if you’re their friend. Retailers could ‘see’ you walk in to their store, do a lookup on you as a customer, and if you’re a frequent one, give you deals. If you’re new, give you a “new customer” deal. Snapping a photo and uploading it to one of the many and emerging photo-geo-located services lets you ‘see’ on a map photos of a place before you even go there. The possibilities are endless.

I’m still in “observer mode” as I experience my iPhone 3G and these sorts of applications. What I see is that they’re all interesting and still toy-like in some respects, but there is no question in my mind that this GPS capability so in its infancy, yet executed so simply and well by Apple, will make location and presence aware services explode and become expected by us.

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  1. jd stein on August 6, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    GPS is amazing on the iPhone; except when it doesn’t work. The other day I was in Salt Lake City and my iPhone insisted I was in Pennsylvania. When trying to find a local Salt Lake furniture store, Maps indicated it would only take 30 hours to get there.

    Has anyone had issues like with that?

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About Steve Borsch

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.