MapQuest introduces free GPS app for Apple iPhone

Free turn-by-turn navigation finally comes to the Apple iPhone. So how does the new MapQuest GPS iPhone app stack up?

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    Going somewhere? Try downloading the new MapQuest iPhone application –the first free GPS app to hit the iTunes App Store.
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Free turn-by-turn GPS navigation is already the norm on Android-equipped smartphones, but for years, iPhone users were left high and dry. No longer. MapQuest, a mapping company owned by AOL, recently introduced the long-awaited MapQuest 4 Mobile version 1.5.1, which includes turn-by-turn GPS service and voice guidance. The app is compatible with the iPhone and the iPad, and available now at the Apple iTunes App Store.

The updated version of MapQuest 4 Mobile joins a slew of GPS apps designed for the iPhone and iPad, including the very pricey TomTom application – $60 for the cheapest model – and a MotionX GPS download, which goes for under three bucks. MapQuest 4 Mobile is essentially a stripped-down, free version of the $.99 MapQuest Navigator application.

The app includes a handful of nifty features, including a toggle switch for energy settings, so your already-overloaded iPhone doesn't die before you manage to pilot your car to the desired location. Reviewing the MapQuest app for CNET, Rick Broida says "the turn-by-turn directions do their job: guide you to your destination." Plus, the price – i.e., totally free – is right.

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But Broida doesn't like that MapQuest will only let you see your route from a top-down angle – 3D mapping isn't available on the iPhone app.

"What's more, it doesn't announce street names or fetch traffic updates," Broida writes. "Those aren't crucial shortcomings, but I do have a hard time living with this: It doesn't rotate the map relative to your position. Instead, it retains a true-north orientation, moving your position marker across the map as you drive."

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Have you had a chance to toy around with MapQuest 4 Mobile? We want to hear from you. Drop us a line in the comments section.

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