CyclingEdinburgh.info

iPhone 3.0 Week

Posted by chdot on June 15, 2009


Not everyone has, wants or could afford to have an iPhone, but they can be of great use to cyclists. At a basic level it’s a ‘phone, with text, e-mail and (almost) full web access. So it’s ‘your office in your pocket’ and means, if you have a flexible work life, more chances to go cycling without being ‘out of contact’!

In addition it is a highly effective GPS device which tells you where you are and, using the built in Google Maps Application, can help to plan routes. This is confined to on-road routes as Google doesn’t know much about cyclepaths!

For planning cycle journeys it’s hard to beat CycleStreets.net. This is officially a “public beta” and is getting better every day due to feedback from users (and people adding data to the underlying Open Street Map base.)

On Wednesday iPhone maker Apple is releasing the the latest version of its software – iPhone OS 3.0. The main difference is that copy and paste and device-wide searching will be available – things that should really have been available two years ago.

One thing that sets the iPhone apart from other ‘smart ‘phones’ is the availability of Apps (applications/programs). Many are free, some are really useful. Pictured here are pins produced by the FirePin app. This records your journey and automatically uploads it to the Internet. So you can see where you went, show other people ‘suggested routes’ or even let people know where you are while you are actually cycling.

Another very useful mapping app is EveryTrail which also lets you take photos with the iPhone’s 2MP camera and puts them on an on-line map (which can be kept private). Again good for showing places to go (e.g. Braid Burn from Morningside to the Pentland foothills). Cycling with an iPhone in one hand is not a good idea…

On Friday Apple releases its 3rd generation handset – iPhone 3G S (watch for queues of desperate ‘must-haves’ outside O2 shops). This promises faster processing, a better camera and an electronic compass.

UPDATE: Today an iPhone alternative to Google maps was launched (details), but so far it seems to be US only.

4 Responses to “iPhone 3.0 Week”

  1. jacquiephelan said

    I HOPE Apple will kindly keep you ‘in phones’ for this generous public service announcemment.
    And yes, I imagine it is unsafe to ride with an iphone in one hand. Someone might snatch it.

  2. Wilm said

    The bit about iPhone OS 3.0 that might be most relevant, though, is that multitasking should be beefier. The trouble with all bike ride recording apps I’ve seen so far is that they need to be in the foreground and the phone can’t sleep. That means the battery goes flat in short order, and all kinds of things stop position recording. Should be fixed for free after Wednesday (I hope)

  3. chdot said

    Thanks for that. Not sure if/how Apple will allow the sort of background running that will improve current situation.

    Battery life is always an issue (you can get add on battery packs).

    Certainly it is annoying that if you stop to take a call or check e-mail you have to remember to go back to app AND make sure it’s running.

  4. If you want OpenStreetMap Maps on your iPhone, take a look at Trails, Motion X-GPS and OffMaps.

    They both cache the maps, so that you can use them when you are out of net access.

    3.0 doesn’t help with people wanting to do tracking for a reasonable amount of time. Until that happens, I’ll keep with my Sony Ericsson K850i with my bluetooth GPS and TrackMyJourney java app.

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