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Apple cutting rivals out of iPhone navigation?

updated 09:55 am EDT, Wed June 11, 2008

iPhone SDK & GPS nav.

Apple may be attempting to block competition when it comes to GPS navigation on the iPhone, developers have observed. In the most recent version of the iPhone SDK, Section 3.3.7 of the license agreement tells users that "applications may not be designed or marketed for real time route guidance; automatic or autonomous control of vehicles, aircraft, or other mechanical devices; dispatch or fleet management; or emergency or life-saving purposes."

The language effectively bans much of the third-party software that might exploit the iPhone 3G's new GPS module, which could in theory be used to provide in-car or on-foot guidance beyond the static options present in Google Maps. The rules may prove especially frustrating for nav-unit maker TomTom, which yesterday told Reuters that it has already developed navigation software for the iPhone and plans to sell it commercially.

It is speculated that Apple may have the intention of developing its own real-time navigation software, but it has not announced any such plans to date.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Athens

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Jan 2003

    +3

    bah

    "real time route guidance; automatic or autonomous control of vehicles, aircraft, or other mechanical devices; dispatch or fleet management; or emergency or life-saving purposes"

    No thats not locking out companies thats called protecting Apples butt from lawsuits. If the Program or iPhone failed in any one of those situations, that could leed to a nasty lawsuit.

  1. Horsepoo!!!

    Banned

    Joined: Jun 2003

    -1

    Athens,

    Exactly what I was thinking.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2005

    -2

    yep....


    ...sounds to me more like the usual legal language to make sure the company is absolved of any liability...

    "applications may not be designed or marketed for real time route guidance; automatic or autonomous control of vehicles, aircraft, or other mechanical devices; dispatch or fleet management; or emergency or life-saving purposes."

  1. UberFu

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2002

    -2

    so does this mean?

    that Apple will reject any company's product from their "cattle-shoot" distribution system if they add in the ability to do any of those things?

  1. ebeyer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2004

    +5

    .

    I'm waiting/hoping for some good geocaching software.

  1. ebeyer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2004

    -5

    .

    I'm waiting/hoping for some good geocaching software.

  1. dogzilla

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Sep 1999

    -2

    Huh?

    WTF is a "cattle-shoot" distribution system?

    I agree with the above posters - this sounds more like something that came down from the legal department than locking competition out. I can't really envision a situation where real-time navigation is so strategically important to Apple that they would lock everyone else out. What it may mean, however, is that the GPS unit in the iPhone either sucks or is not ready for prime time.

  1. Deal

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Apr 2001

    +1

    Bad Mix

    Lawyers and Media.... not a good combination for the truth.

  1. Roehlstation

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +1

    Don't care who does it...

    But someone better have Navigation software on the iPhone. I'd leave it up to Tom Tom. Hopefully this IS just boilerplate.

  1. eggman

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Aug 2002

    +1

    Apple liability?

    It sees more like a liability issue with the software manufacturer, although I suppose Apple could get dragged into it... but it also seems like shutting off a reliable revenue stream.

    A few days ago we were reading that the dedicated GPS manufacturers were scared to death of a GPS-enabled iPhone... so there's a real opportunity here. The GPS manufacturers assume the same liability risks that everyone is saying Apple wants to avoid here, and which - I expect - could be deflected with some disclaimers in a software license agreement with end users.

    I expect that it's a case of Apple wanting this market to themselves. But either way, I think it's a shame.

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