How much for an iPhone-powered TomTom satnav? That's the question that has been on the lips of many an iPhone user ever since TomTom announced it was developing a version of the market leading turn-by-turn satellite navigation system especially for the iPhone. Now, it seems, we are a little closer to knowing the answer. I just hope you are sitting down before I reveal it.
According to one online retailer which has broken ranks and gone public with pre-order pricing, if you want an iPhone-powered TomTom satnav in your car it will cost you a cool £113.85 ($193.75) which works out to £99 ($168.50) plus tax. Which is not, by a long shot, the most expensive iPhone app.
Now before you reel too far back in absolute horror, that isn't the cost of the maps and satnav software alone. In fact it's the price for an in-car kit which includes the software (with the latest Tele Atlas mapping and the TomTom IQ Routes feature) plus a specially designed, and I have to admit rather sexy looking, cradle which provides secure docking, enhanced GPS performance, voice instruction sound boost, hands-free telephone calling and in-situ charging of your iPhone.
In fact, a quick scout around the same site that has published that pre-ordering price is selling the cheapest standalone TomTom in-car unit for £118 ($200) which means that the iPhone version is actually cheaper, assuming you already own an iPhone 3GS that is.
Currently TomTom are neither confirming nor denying the pricing, or availability for that matter, other than to say that the cost is to be confirmed and the iPhone satnav should be released this summer.
Of course, the TomTom software application itself will also be available from the Apple App Store as a standalone download for the iPhone, and one has to assume that the cost will be fairly dramatically reduced if you are not buying into the hardware kit as well. Certainly one would hope that it will swing in lower than the only real competition at the moment, the Navigon MobileNavigator for iPhone which is currently being sold at a reduced price of £59.99 ($102) for the European maps version until the end of August when one assumes it will zoom back up to £79.99 ($136) - you also have to assume that the timing of the price cut is to try and ward off the inevitable TomTom effect. Which does, indeed, bode well for a release some time later this month.
There are still some questions to be answered, such as will TomTom for iPhone be Homer Simpson powered and how will the in-car kit deal with the 3GS getting hot issue considering Apple has already warned about leaving the phone exposed to heat through car windows.
It will be interesting to see if the new TomTom software developed for the iPhone can actually use data for traffic reporting. If so, I might just be tempted to invest. My wife has had her eyes on my TomTom Go530 for quite some time, so all being well I might just have solved the what to get her for Xmas problem - and, no, I don't mean the iPhone car kit!