Google Maps for iOS updated with improved search features

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Google Maps, hands down the best maps app for iOS, has received its first update and users now have better integration with their Google contacts. Upon signing in with v1.1 of the Maps app, any saved addresses on your Google account will show up when you look up the name of a friend of family member. This makes it easier to find driving directions to your contact’s address, of course provided that you’ve already entered their details beforehand. To help distinguish between search results of names you’ve typed in, your saved contacts will show up with a person icon to the left, while general results with a similar names will have a magnifying glass icon beside it. Currently, Google Contacts search only works with regular Google email accounts, and is not available for Enterprise Apps accounts.

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Google Maps has finally landed on the iPhone

After months of waiting for the best maps app for iOS 6, Google has finally released their highly anticipated Maps app for the iPhone. With a slick interface and all the features you’ve come to love but found missing on Apple’s own Maps app (i.e. public transit info and Street view), it appears the long wait was well worth it.

Navigate your world with Google Maps, now available for iPhone. Get comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps with built-in Google local search, voice guided turn-by-turn navigation, public transit directions, Street View and more. Use Google Maps to discover great places to eat, drink, shop and play, with ratings and reviews from people you trust. Sign in to save your favorite places and quickly access all your past searches and directions from your computer, right on your phone.

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Nokia’s HERE Maps app now available for iOS

Nokia has released their first iOS app, which it hopes will lure users away from the various mapping solutions on the platform. Called HERE Maps, it’s based off HTML 5 and offers several features that Apple’s own Maps app lacks. Most notable of these include turn-by-turn walking directions (strangely enough, not for driving directions), community maps (selected countries), the ability to save map areas for offline use, and public transportation. You can also sign up for a free Nokia account that lets you ‘Collect’ places, which can then be viewed at a later time on mobile devices and even the web.

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Must have offline maps app: City Maps 2Go now free

Anyone who’s ever travelled to another country with their iPhones (and iPads) have no doubt looked up the App Store for some offline maps solution. With carriers charging an arm and a leg for data roaming fees, it’s no wonder that there are countless travel apps with offline map capabilities. The best I’ve come across so far is City Maps 2Go, which also happens to have gone free today (was $1.99). Using Map data and POI from OpenStreetMap, the app lets you separately download 7,800 maps from all over the globe – all neatly sorted by cities, counties and provinces.

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Localscope app adds support for location based reminders

Using location based reminders on iOS can no doubt be useful, but adding a specific location to the Reminders app can certainly be a drag. For instance, say you want to be reminded of a cheque that needs to be deposited when you drive by your local bank. To do this, you can create said reminder, turn on “Remind Me at a Location” and choose either your current location or enter the actual address. Unless you know your bank’s address, you pretty much don’t have a choice but to open Safari, lookup the info online, and copy & paste it back into the app. Needless to say, this is rather time consuming. Thankfully, there are easier ways to accomplish this, particularly with the help of the recently updated Localscope app for the iPhone.

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TeleNav offering 1 year subscription to Scout Plus for Free ($24.99)

Now that we know Google won’t be releasing a standalone Google Maps app anytime soon, it maybe time to explore other options on the App Store if you’re adamant against using Apple’s own Maps app. Like this one here: Scout by Telenav. An award winning nav app for mobile devices, Telenav is currently offering a 1 year subscription to Scout Plus absolutely free (normally $24.99). With Plus, you’ll get all these features:

  • Our 3D turn-by-turn navigation with voice
  • Traffic rerouting
  • Offline navigation for when you drive out of cell coverage
  • Lane Assist, which helps you figure out what lane you should be in
  • Speed Traps & Red Light Camera Alerts
  • Search for the cheapest gas near you

It’s even got a little Siri happening as you can use your voice to tell the app what you’re looking for or where you want to go. Additionally, you can download offline maps for in the event you lose cell coverage while driving. Best of all, it appears that Scout’s turn-by-turn navigation even works on the now 3 year old iPhone 3GS. Grab the app via the link or check out the promo videos for Scout below.

Scout by Telenav TeleNav, Inc., Scout by Telenav - Free

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Onmaway lets your loved ones know you’re on the way home (without Texting and Driving)

Were you ever tempted to send a short text message while driving to a spouse/partner/friend just to let them know that you’re on the way? Now when I last checked, texting and driving at the same time is highly ill advised (not to mention illegal in most states/provinces), so there has to be a safer and easier way right? Well that’s where the newly released Onmaway for iOS comes in. With the app, users can share their location in real time using the iPhone’s GPS functionality. Simply select the other party via sms or email, choose the duration of how long they can track you and a customized message. Your friends and family will then receive a link and be able to view your location in real time via any web browser. For longer trips, there’s an Epic Journey mode that allows you to share your location on Facebook or Twitter every 4 hours.

Onmaway requires iOS 4.2 or later, and with more recent iDevices (3GS or iPhone 4), you’ll be able to run the app in the background as well. Demo video and more info after the break.

Onmaway - Share Your Location without Texting While Driving Ka Pow Interactive, Onmaway, 2.9 MB – $1.99

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The Cartographer in Review – Old-style maps on your space age iDevice

Travelling abroad with an iPhone, one thing I always miss the most is cell data. While theoretically I could turn on roaming, I would have to mortgage my house to do so. And this also means that unless I find a Wi-Fi hotspot I’m stuck without the lovely Google Maps that I, as many others, have grown so accustomed to. And with my wife making extensive use of the handy My Maps feature of Google’s to plan our trip, this is even more depressing. And then I learned about The Cartographer by Tasty Pixel.

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Select mTrip Travel Guides Free for Today

mTrip, the company behind the fantastic mTrip Travel Guides for the iPhone (and Android platform), is offering 11 of their “intelligent” city guides for Free today on the App Store.

With the launch of seven new travel guides for spring, we will be offering them for free today in the Apple App Store. In the Android market, the 11 selected apps will be discounted to 0.99 Thursday and Friday, perhaps even longer so keep an eye out! Along with the 7 new city guides, some of our older destinations will be on offer for free: Tokyo, Beijing, Singapore & Shanghai. All apps go back to regular price ($5.99) afterward so don’t miss out on this promotion!

I’ve tried plenty of travel apps on my iPhone and I keep coming back to the mTrip apps thanks to its impressive feature set. With its Trip Planner mode, users can create their own Itinerary based on trip dates, travel interests, pace intensity and more. Using these preferences, the app will create a custom schedule for you to follow. The offline map can then show you the best route to each destination, either by foot or subway (with specific station/line to take). If you do your fair share of travelling, I highly recommend you download these 11 freebies today and give them a try. Links to the 11 guides and video demo after the gap…

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Apple’s Awesome iOS 4 Apps

Apple seems to be on a roll of late with App Store app lists. First came The Best Games You’ve Never Played, a roundup of hidden gems that haven’t quite burned up the app charts. Now they’ve released the Awesome iOS 4 Apps list, a collection of apps and games that have been updated to take advantage of iOS 4′s new features, like support for the Retina Display and Multitasking/Fast App Switching. Here are some notable that have made the list:

Now I haven’t tried all 42 apps on the list, but I don’t think I’d consider all of them to be awesome. I suppose it’s all a matter of personal preference and interests (and of course, apps that actually have been updated for iOS 4 already). The entire Apple roundup can be found right here on iTunes.