I was a little surprised on Friday when I went to download a new chart and inspect the narrow Grenville Channel from Prince Rupert south in British Columbia as part of the Inside Passage on my iPad’s Navionics US & Canada HD app. I have been using this navigation app for a long time, and while it is not perfect, it is a pretty good. It is stable and uses the same cartography as any Navionics-supported chartplotter. It is my go-to iPad navigation tool.
When I went to download the chart of the area, I got the disturbing message that there would be no further updates to the app, as it will be discontinued. Navionics was acquired by Garmin not long ago, so I guess that I should not be surprised that changes are in the wind. And the message was quick to also note that a new app, Navionics Boating, would replace this navigation app.
I downloaded the new app but getting my subscription switched from one app to the new app within my account (Garmin or Navionics?) was not as smooth or as automated as I would have expected from a technology company. On the menu of the new Boating app, there is a message about transferring all your charts and data to this new app. But when I click on the message, it says it noticed I have another Boating app on my device. It also says I can “easily transfer here all your charts and data. To start, open your other Boating app and follow the procedure.” What the heck does that even mean??? I reopened the Navionics US & Canada app again, but there is no “procedure” that I could identify. Clearly, this is a work in progress. App developers assume a lot from users, and as a computer programmer in a previous life, I know all about developers thinking something is obvious and intuitive when it is anything but by the end user.
However, the new Navionics Boating app has a fresh look, and I am excited to get familiar with it. It is kind of odd seeing Navionics, A Garmin Company. I did enjoy the ease of setting two waypoints and how quickly the app determines an autoroute to go from one to the other. Annapolis to St Michaels is 26 nm, and will take me an hour on Blue Angel, which is accurate.
Changing of the guard with apps is probably an end-of-year thing, because my Onstar Remote app is also going away. The service is being replaced with the MyCadillac app, which looks like it does pretty much the same thing. But it has some teething issues as well.
This is the new normal, where our dependence on apps for normal life activities must occasionally be disrupted by replacement apps that promise better, faster, and easier operation. The world is certainly on a fast track.
Have a great week.