AT&T is now offering a new application for the iPhone that provides voice activated turn-by-turn navigation. Given that wireless carriers love to capitalize on regular monthly fees charged to consumers, it’s not too surprising that the new app costs $10 per month. The new app makes it among the first apps to make use of the new in-application payments that are allowed in the iPhone OS 3.0.
What you get for the monthly fee is obviously what’s important. First off, the application is voice activated in that you can set a destination by talking to the unit. Of course, some will argue that this functionality is of marginal value since the beginning of a journey is arguably the time when you need this functionality the least. During navigation, the maps will scroll by in 3D and you’ll hear voice instructions to guide you along your journey. You’ll also get help routing around traffic problems as well as local search information. Another benefit is that you’ll get regular and automatic map updates.
Whether or not this new app is worth the cost is debatable, especially since other mapping applications are available for a much lower (and one time) fee. TomTom and Navigon have also announced their own navigational apps for the iPhone.