My love affair with the iPhone is still passionate, continually renewed by the marvelous apps that I keep discovering and downloading.
MotionX-GPS Drive came into my iPhone life yesterday. We're getting along great. This is a terrific GPS application that cost me $2.99 -- a far cry dollar-wise from the Garmin Nuvi that I also adore. (Laudatory review here.)
Yet GPS Drive accomplishes most of what the Nuvi can do, and goes beyond it in some respects.
There you can search for various needs/desires, like nearby coffee houses, gasoline stations, parking, medical attention, and such. Plus, of course, you can input an address and GPS Drive will guide you there whether you're driving or walking.
For the first 30 days Motion-X throws in free turn by turn spoken directions.
After that, I believe the cost is $25 a year, or thereabouts. A bargain, compared to what other iPhone GPS apps charge for turn by turn directions.
I tested GPS Drive out on a scooter ride to The Grind Coffee House in south Salem. I've been wondering how I could use a GPS device on my Suzuki Burgman 650, and I quickly realized that GPS Drive is well-suited for scootering.
I started the app up, clicked on the "Coffee" symbol, and found The Grind Coffee House.
(Actually Bad Ass Coffee, which used to be in that location. GPS Drive has a feature that lets you send in corrections to driving instructions, so I've let them know that Bad Ass has become The Grind -- which has a nicely erotic tone to it.)
After clicking on "Navigate," I attached earbuds to the iPhone, stuck them in my ears, then zipped the iPhone into a chest pocket on my scootering jacket. My full-face helmet slipped on nicely, leaving the earbuds in place.
Because I ride a quiet big scooter, not a noisy Harley, I could hear the turn by turn instructions -- which were right on target.
In fact, I was taken to The Grind on a way that I hadn't thought of before. Shorter, more scenic, less traffic. When I got to the coffee house I praised GPS Drive to the young'ish owner/barrista. (Of course, now that I'm 61, just about everyone looks young to me.)
She was an iPhone aficionado also and said that she'd probably get this app. No reason not to at $2.99.
And I'm confident it's only going to get better and better, based on my experience with MotionX-GPS Sport, which has been part of my iPhone app library for almost a year.
Using GPS Drive on a dog walk this afternoon, I found that it worked as well for getting around on two legs as on two wheels.
Halfway around a neighborhood street loop, I asked GPS Drive to guide me to our house. It started navigating correctly, offering up estimates for how far dog and man had to go, and when we'd arrive at our destination.
I was curious to see what would happen if I took an off-road trail for a while. GPS Drive dutifully tracked our progress across a shortcut, then updated its distance and arrival time info once we got back onto a road that it recognized.
One of the few drawbacks to an iPhone based GPS device is that when cell phone service is lost, as happened a couple of times on our walk, maps can't be updated (but the GPS capability remains, so progress still is shown on a static map).
This is because GPS Drive maps are downloaded on demand, rather than residing on the device, as is the case with my Garmin Nuvi. So no cell phone service, no maps.
On the plus side, information is going to be more up to date with GPS Drive, since it is as current as the Internet is (GPS Drive uses Bing as its search engine). So if a new restaurant opens up, my iPhone will know about it long before the Garmin Nuvi database is updated.
I'm regularly blown away by how many creative and useful apps there are for the iPhone.
I rarely use it to make phone calls. But many times a day I'm checking email, looking up a weather report, seeing what's new with the news, Twittering, and -- without fail -- playing another round of Ragdoll Blaster.
Hugely addicting. Who knew that shooting ragdolls out of a cannon in order to solve increasingly complex target-hitting puzzles could be so much fun?
Not me. Until now.
Just as I've come to realize that it's possible to buy a first class GPS device for $2.99 (leaving aside the not-insignificant cost of an iPhone, which, however, has come to seem cheap at any price to me).