I get sent a lot of apps to try and regardless of whether they are on iOS, Android, Windows or Linux, I try them all. Mainly because there is always the possibility that an app will not only achieve what its developer intended, but also give you an idea of how it might shape other aspects of your iPhone.
That’s what happened with Compass GPS, released in late April by developer Rihab Mehboob. He got in touch in January for a messaging app he created himself, which works ingeniously as a note-taking app.
This time, Mehboob told me he wanted to create something different from the other compass apps, which featured a great UI, but could also easily point a user in the right direction when walking somewhere.
I’ve used it around Lincoln last week and not only is its lens successful, but it gives me inspiration on how Apple could improve its Maps app for iOS 16, which could be announced at WWDC 2022 in June.
Maps in iOS 16 should be inspired by this app
Even before Maps was redesigned by Apple in iOS 6, it was possible to set a destination and then follow the route through a compass function in the app. Since the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015, you’ve been able to set your destination on your iPhone, then have the watch touch your wrist whenever you need to turn left or right.
All of this has been helpful, but even though Apple has said it has a vested interest in augmented reality (AR), there’s still no feature in Maps to take advantage of the technology.
When you want to find your location in Maps, you need to double press the “location” button in the top right for the app to adjust and rotate to give you an idea of where you are facing. However, it can be difficult to find the right direction and double tapping a button is not intuitive.
Mehboob’s app solves this problem in an instant. Pick up your iPhone and switch to AR mode, with a compass that overlaps the screen. Lower the iPhone and it will show the map. It’s a simple feature, but in practice it worked very well as I walked along Lincoln’s main street.
Whether Mehboob is moving on to the next idea as WWDC approaches, or there are bugs to be fixed in a future Compass GPS update, there is potential here for a full-fledged Maps app if Apple doesn’t improve its. Maps app in iOS 16.
While it is free to download, Compass GPS is charged at $ 9.99 / £ 9.99 / AU $ 10.99 to continue using its features, which gives hope that the app will see more useful features in the coming months.
Regardless, Mehboob’s app shows what the potential of Apple’s Maps app could be with AR, especially if the alleged AR glasses come true.