Photos: Nearest Tube app makes iPhone reality better than real reality

Augmented reality promises to slap the knowledge of the Interwebs on to everything we see, and Nearest Tube is a new example. But is Apple going to hand AR to Android on a platter?

Normal reality is so lame, with boring, ugly old signs everywhere to point at stuff. We look forward to a future of naked streets where our handy smart phones tell us where we need to go using augmented reality (AR), which overlays information on to the real world.

Nearest Tube is an innovative AR app that takes advantage of the iPhone 3GS' built-in compass to show you -- surprise! -- where the nearest London Tube station is.

The app combines the compass info with GPS to overlay pointers showing the distance and direction to Tube stations far and wide. The higher icons show stations further away, and also kindly show the lines that run through each station and whether that station is the closest option for each line.

The distances were roughly accurate, although they're measured as the crow flies, and we haven't quite managed to get our crow-powered airship working yet, so they're a little bit short. For example, Waterloo was shown as being 1.04km away from Crave Towers, while Google maps estimates that the walking route will take 1.4km of shoe leather.

The video below is from its developers, Acrossair, who tells us Nearest Tube is awaiting approval from Apple and should be available for download from the App Store within two weeks, when it will set you back a meagre £1.19. Since it uses the compass, it'll only work for the iPhone 3GS and not the compass-less iPhone 3G.

Click 'continue' to see how the app worked for us when we hit the bricks in South London, and why the iPhone is going to lose its place in the new reality to Android if it doesn't pull its socks up.

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