Mac Addicts and gadget lovers of all stripes will be glued to their liveblogs tomorrow, as Apple stages an event to unveil the latest operating system version of the iPhone.
The blogosphere probably won’t be able to sleep tonight, dreaming of should-already-have-’ems like cut and paste and MMS — or, in some cases, long-shot dreams like a new touch screen tablet netbook hybrid. My hopes are a bit more modest.
Last November, Apple made some enhancements to the iPhone’s Google Maps integration with firmware release 2.2, most notably the addition of public transit routes and Google Street View. All I’m hoping for with the new OS is the addition of Google Maps’ Terrain View.
Up until now, I have been highly suspect of the iPhone’s performance as it relates to outdoorsy usefulness. But while snowshoeing over the weekend, I finally had my eyes opened. Usually, I have my phone on silent or off when I’m hiking, just because I don’t want people to be able to get in touch with me when I’m trying to “get away from it all,” but on this trip I had to have it on so I could meet up with my snowboarding buddies after they were done on the slopes. As luck would have it, I also apparently bought a very confusing map, had bad directions, and missed a major trail junction because it was covered in snow. Go figure.
So, while crunching through some ice and snow in the middle of the San Bernardino National Forest and getting frustrated with my map, I decided to pull out the old iPhone to see if it could locate me. And lo and behold, it worked! There I was, a glowing blue dot, displayed on a Google Map.
Now, because I had very little service, I was only able to see myself on the standard “streamlined version” of Google Maps. It was enough detail to get me moving in the right direction, but not enough to locate landmarks or peaks — which is why I’m really hoping they add a Terrain View to the maps tomorrow. Honestly, it shouldn’t be too hard — they’ve already got satellite, hybrid, and traffic views on there.
I still honestly should just spring for some maps for my actual GPS unit, but at least this experience is making me look at the iPhone in a new light. Oh, and if we don’t get Terrain View tomorrow, can we do something about it dropping my calls randomly?
Apple’s announcements begin at 10AM Pacific Time. During these events, I usually have Endgaget and Gizmodo liveblogs running in two different tabs to keep me informed until Apple posts their own slick video presentation.