A few weeks ago at Apple’s WWDC, TomTom CTO Peter-Frans Pauwels demoed what his company had in store for their upcoming turn by turn direction app for the iPhone. While a firm release date for the app is not yet known, Pauwels noted that users should expect to see the app in the iTunes App Store later this summer.
In the meantime, Macworld recently sat down with TomTom’s VP of Market Development, Tom Murray, and was able to glean a whole lot of interesting info about what Tom Tom’s upcoming iPhone app will be like.
Chief among the differences between TomTom’s upcoming iPhone app and other similarly situated turn by turn iPhone apps is that TomTom will be selling a car kit to accompany the downloaded software. While the car kit won’t be necessary to use the software, it will work to enhance the it by providing more accurate navigation info to drivers while simultaneously charging the device as well.
For starters, the Car Kit includes a separate GPS receiver that performs better than the one built into the iPhone; Murray said this receiver is closer to what you’d find in a dedicated GPS unit. The TomTom app uses this receiver when your iPhone is docked in the Car Kit, allowing for improved real-time navigation, especially in cities with large buildings or in locations with lots of trees or other natural obstacles. The Car Kit also includes a built-in speaker that provides better audio quality and considerably louder output, making it easier to hear spoken directions.
Murray conceded that turn by turn on the iPhone won’t be able to match the functionality of a standalone GPS unit, but noted that TomTom is working to include a number of iPhone specific features that other GPS units don’t have.
For example, unlike TomTom’s dedicated GPS devices, the TomTom app’s interface has portrait and landscape modes depending, of course, on how the phone is oriented. You can also use the iPhone’s multi-touch gestures—tap, swipe, pinch, and zoom—to navigate the interface and zoom in and out of maps. You’ll also be able to access your iPhone contacts from within the TomTom app, letting you quickly choose a destination or starting point from a contact’s information.
Macworld has a lot more info about TomTom’s upcoming iPhone app over here, and it’s definitely worth checking out.