Google Maps for iOS has hardly changed since its introduction as part of iOS 3.x. Its integration with Siri as part of iOS 5.x in the iPhone 4S, however, is very nice. Using its on-demand online maps, Google Maps can provide you with accurate directions from A to B while showing your current geographic location. Directions delivered either via Siri voice commands or via user input are delivered quickly and are as accurate as the maps the application pulls from. Google Maps for iOS supports both walking and car-based directions. What it can't do on the iPhone, however, is the turn-by-turn navigation that it does so flawlessly on in its Android counterpart.
Waze is part game, part serious navigation app. It got its start in the Android world, got noticed, and made the jump to iOS. Waze enlists you, the user, to help validate its on-demand maps. In return for using the application and "road munching"--gobbling up dots on unvalidated roads Pac Man style--you earn game points you can track. Waze takes the validation data and uses it to confirm that its cartography data is accurate. Users also get points for reporting accidents, speed traps, police cruiser locations, and other road happenings.
Although Waze does provide turn-by-turn navigation, and does a good job of getting you from point A to point B, the road-munching game gets to be a little tiresome after the novelty wears off. Also, for an app that displays a distracted-use warning on first startup, Waze requires way too much interaction from the driver during use. For serious or ongoing navigation needs, you should look elsewhere.
At $14.99, CoPilot Live is one of the most affordable storage-based navigation apps for iOS there is, and an overall good choice. The top five apps in our roundup only just edged it out. CoPilot's interactive, tap-and-drag route editing is truly innovative. The downside, of course, is that the more you have to interact with a navigation app while driving the more distracted you'll be.
Like TomTom and iGo primo, CoPilot Live supports lane indicators and realistic signpost info to make tricky turns and interchanges easier to negotiate. This kind of assistance is becoming very popular and more of the better apps will have it as time goes on. A storage-based app, CoPilot Live comes loaded up with maps. Its ALK MapSure service provides monthly, free in-app map improvements and full quarterly map updates. It also supports live traffic in a yearly subscription model as an in-app purchase. The subscription automatically renews until cancelled.
Sygic is a storage-based navigation app that uses maps from TomTom for iOS to guide users via voice-guided GPS navigation. Sygic supports hardware-accelerated 3D rendering as well as Apple's retina display. The app is also optimized for iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and the new iPad. Sygic is compatible with iOS 5 and contains support for iCloud. You can back up your favorite points of interest and your settings, history, Favorites and Travel Book.
Most navigation app displays tend to be rather plain. Sygic's screens, however, contain a great level of detail--maybe too much, in fact, especially in metropolitan areas. The screens can be a bit on the busy side, and that can be somewhat distracting. Its safety features, however, provide a great deal of comfort. Its road incident sharing and real-time incident notifications can help you navigate around accidents and traffic snarls. Its audio stream can also be pushed through your car's audio system either via Bluetooth or auxiliary cable.
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