When I first bought my iPhone in 2008, I was looking forward to turn-by-turn navigation thanks to its built-in GPS capability. Unfortunately the built-in Maps application can’t do turn-by-turn (although it can plot you a route and give a list of directions). What’s more, Apple’s SDK agreement prevented developers from selling their own turn-by-turn apps on the App Store.
However, with the release of iPhone OS 3.0 last year the restriction on turn-by-turn navigation apps was lifted, and since then we’ve started to see some very capable apps appearing for iPhone.
Sygic Mobile Maps was the first iPhone turn-by-turn navigation app available here in Australia. It was launched back in June 2009. Since then many others have sprung up here, including TomTom (with an optional car kit for charging, better sound, and better GPS), Navigon, CoPilot and more. (Here’s a good, if slightly out of date, comparison chart.)
I decided to go with Sygic because:
- It uses the same Australian maps as TomTom (Whereis), which are reputed to be the best
- It offers an impressive range of features, including multiple alternative route options, auto map zooming, signposts, lane assistance, and lots of customisation options
- It seems well-liked among the iPhone community, and Sygic do seem to listen seriously to customer feedback – they frequently release lots of updates with added features and fixes
- It’s cheaper than many other apps such as TomTom. (Even better – it’s currently on sale at AUD $59.99.)
Mobile Maps in action, showing a signpost, speed cameras, and current speed limit. (No, I wasn’t driving at 121 km/h – this is the demo mode!)