I have completely discarded my dedicated Garmin GPS navigation devices because the iPhone GPS Turn-by-Turn navigation Apps are really good now. When I first took a look at the major players the features were pretty weak in those days. Also with no background processing in iOS itself the experience for talking on the phone while navigating was painful. A lot has changed since then! These Apps now in many cases offer more features than the dedicated handheld units by the same manufacturers and they are constantly updated due to the competitive landscape.
What's New with the Magellan RoadMate App?
Each of the major Apps: Navigon, TomTom and Magellan all do the basic function of getting you from point A to point B using a GPS satellite and offering turn-by-turn voice directions. What keeps them competing with each other is what they offer beyond the basics and offering features that the other guys don't offer. Magellan was a little late to the party with their App, but they have certainly caught up with their latest update. First off this update takes advantage of iOS 4 and background processing with continued voice guidance while you run other apps in the foreground or take a call.
What really gets me excited here is the addition of Realtime Lifetime Traffic with no additional costs. Another cool feature is POI (Points of Interest) sharing. You can quickly share a destination/POI with your contacts. This is great when you're trying to meet up with someone. Last but not least for the deal seekers out there you have the option of receiving Location Based Offers and Coupons. I think this is a neat idea and if I'm driving through an area and am presented with a compelling deal, I'd probably be willing to stop and take advantage of it. While not the most feature rich app out there, they certainly offer a nice bang for the buck.
A Deal on the Car Kit
I've been a fan of the Magellan iPhone/iPod touch Car Kit since day one! It's the only one that I use. It simply rocks! It offers a GPS signal boost as well as bluetooth handsfree speaker phone and audio out for your iPod music to your in car stereo. The Magellan RoadMate North America App is $44.99 and if you buy it between now and January 9, 2011 they'll give you a coupon credit of $44.99 towards the Car Kit. That's a heck of a deal! It definitely makes the car kit more attractive.
If you already have a GPS navigation App you can still use the Magellan Car Kit with it. It's not specific to their App. You can get the Car Kit on sale here.
FAQ: Yes, all of the Maps are built-in to the App. No, you don't need a data connection while you're using it (except for the coupons/location based deals). No it does't require your data plan (except for the coupons/deals). No it doesn't require a Car Kit unless you're using an iPod touch, which doesn't have a GPS (the car kit does). No, there are no monthly fees. You buy the App and you're done.