Apple’s iPhone 3GS’s wacky compass due to software or hardware issues?

“We’ve noticed that the iPhone 3GS compass is having some issues… though the scope and cause of those issues is difficult to quantify. The 3GS units we’ve tested have showed a fairly obvious unreliability in getting Maps or even their own Compass apps to agree on what the ‘right direction’ is, and appear to have a very high degree of susceptibility to in-car magnetic fields,” Jeremy Horwitz reports for iLounge.

MacDailyNews Take: We are seeing the same thing in our iPhone 3GS units. You’ll recognize us driving because we’re constantly waving our iPhones around like they’re on tour with Dorothy Hamill. Sometimes, it even works.

Horwitz continues, “A week or two ago, we stopped by an Apple Store and put three 3GS units on a counter in the same direction, finding that their compasses all seemed to be pointing in somewhat different orientations that were off by single- or double-digit degrees. Repeated re-tests of something we noted in the iPhone 3GS review—Maps’ tendency to show north-south movement down a street as diagonal motion rather than northerly when the compass is activated—have continued to yield the same results in our test cars.”

“Our hope is that Apple will correct these issues with an OS 3.1 update, but the question of whether they’re truly software or hardware specific is going to remain a mystery until then,” Horwitz writes.

Full article here.

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