Random thoughts: Apple’s 100,000 iPhone apps and the Google GPS app - Macenstein

Random thoughts: Apple’s 100,000 iPhone apps and the Google GPS app

Two things happened today that filled me with a resounding feeling of… “meh”. Well, actually lots of underwhelming things happened today (I’m rather hard to overwhelm thanks to various mood evening drugs)) but two Apple-related things happened.

Apple to hit 100,000 iPhone Apps

The first announcement did not officially come from Apple itself, rather it came via the blog-o-sphere. Apparently Apple has now passed (or will reach in the next day or so) the 100,000 mark of apps on iTunes. I’m not all that sure that Apple should be all that proud of hitting that milestone. If anyone should be proud of that astronomical number, it is the developers of Apple’s iPhone Software Development Kit. They apparently did such a good job at designing the SDK that even people who have zero talent, originality, programing or artistic ability can now easily create a horrible app that does basically nothing.

When the app store first launched, there were a couple pretty decent apps, mainly games, such as Crash Kart and Super Monkey ball, but these were quickly followed by 5,000 tip calculators, virtual lighters, and fart sound effect generators. And while there have certainly been some amazing apps in the past two years, the ratio of crap to gold is heavily weighted towards the crap, and it is getting harder and harder for those of us seeking gold to find a shovel big enough to move it out of the way. I must say, I have recently been striking out big time on the app store. I would say that despite my best efforts to pre-research apps, a good 70% or so of the apps and games I have bought recently have been pretty disappointing.

I have no real solution to the crap problem, and in fact if all goes well, I will eventually be adding my own crappy app to the store by next year. I just think it might be time for Apple to change it’s “There’s an App for that” slogan to “There’s probably 60 Apps for that – good luck finding the good one”.

Google is releasing it’s own GPS app for Android (and allegedly the iPhone eventually)

I don’t know, I took a look at the Google GPS app demo video, and two things immediately struck me as odd. (Well, aside from that it isn’t even a real GPS, per se). The first is that for some reason a company as huge as Google can’t afford a decent Green Screen effect. The second is that the app doesn’t appear to have text-to-speech driving directions – thus it sucks. Google seems to be touting the fact that you can speak your desired location, but this is really a non-feature, and the exact opposite of what a GPS needs.

I don’t care how good the maps look (and they really don’t look any different than anyone else’s), I’ve tried quite a few iPhone GPS apps, and so far the only ones I consistently use are those that give text-to-speech directions. In fact, as far as I can see the Google app does not even give the basics of a pre-recorded “Turn left.. in.. 100 feet”, let alone “in 200 feet, exit right onto Springfield Avenue”. For the 1 or 2 times a month I actually need a GPS, I think I can enter the destination info by hand, if voice-guided directions come at the expense of voice-guided directions. I’d much rather have my GPS talk to me than talk to my GPS.

9 Responses to “Random thoughts: Apple’s 100,000 iPhone apps and the Google GPS app”
  1. Felysha says:

    Um…shortly before the 1 minute mark they say that voice guidance is a feature. That seems to me to elude to speaking exactly what you were wanting.

  2. Alex says:

    Not only does it have voice navigation, it says street names, something that is missing on the TomTom iPhone app. Don’t worry Doc, it’ll be on the iPhone eventually.

  3. Peter Neal says:

    I think it is short sighted of Google to rely entirely on the cloud, though naturally you can understand why. It would be great if you could download the maps required for your route whilst still at home on Wifi before you set off, then you wouldn’t be effected by intermitant phone signals, which are significant problem here in the UK and imagine in the USA too. It would also solve the data charging problem when using your phone abroad, if you could download the basic maps required for the area you would be visiting. That would be great.

  4. mtvfyrfytr says:

    I like the way that Google touts how great their GPS program is because of the “Cloud”. Maps, POI, etc. are always up to date. I guess that would be great as long as you always have a internet connection.

    I live in the foothills “Gold Country” of California, where you are lucky to get a signal (Edge sometimes, 3G No way). Google’s GPS would do me no good what so ever.

    I’ll stick with Copilot NA. (Hey Doc, with the last update, Copilot now has true voice text-to-speech directions).

  5. jimmyjbullcock says:

    90% of the bulk of crap apps (crapps) are out there by first time coders who want to share their apps with friends/load onto their personal ipod/iphone but not pay the $99 fee for the luxury. (or jailbreak/blah blah blah..) imagine if the only way you could beta test your palm or winmo apps on a hard device was to release through a public storefront searched by millions….

    Think of it as ‘hey ma, looky what I did’ and ma is all like ‘uncle jimmy, you have the apple phone right? billy says download his app “zoo butts extreme” you’ll love it he says..’

  6. anon says:

    Dr, did you even watch the video? bs…

  7. m4tt says:

    tell me if i am wrong but don’t we already have google maps on the iphone?
    i will tell you i have tried to use it to get from point A to point B in the city and
    it does not know where i am at.

  8. m4tt says:

    also when did they move Fenway Park from Boston to New Jersey???
    look at the bottom right of the you tube video with out playing it.

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