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Well, someone had to start this. My only starter on this is - do not forget that the wifi only iPad models have no gps. BTW, if we ever do get iPad multitasking I note that at least with my gps imbedded on the internal wwan card [as in the ipad] my Lenovo T400 laptop it provides the gps data to however many apps are requesting it. This is very handy if you want to have, say, CE running and also google maps/world etc side by side or just to pick up POI info. You can also do this with additional 3rd party 'gps virtualizing' software and an external usb gps Brian

21 Replies

  • Personally, I don't see an issue. No matter it's an iPad, a blackberry, or some android device, having a separate GPS on your boat sending the lat/long via bluetooth is a better solution as you can position that type of GPS somewhere stationary where it can be dry and unobstructed. That allows you to take the iPad or whatever anywhere around the boat without an issue of the GPS becoming obstructed. Even take your iPad to your cabin and still have the anchor watch software running for instance.

    There may be a second benefit, and that is battery life. I noticed my DROID battery life gets very short when the GPS is enabled. I imagine I would get better results if I was using an external GPS, and that would apply to the iPad as well.

  • I second Dan's statement, I think having your GPS somewhere isolated and safe is more important than having one device with all in one functionality. Relying on GPS through the Ipad seems like an unnecessary risk to me.

  • The Apple site says "Assisted GPS" (Wi-Fi + 3G model)
    Does that mean it needs cell tower triangulation for a position?

  • No, just that it is quicker when it has one.

  • Dan, The bluetooth gps method for the iPad does sound attractive. Have you done this with an iphone? Have you read that bluetooth support for the iPad hardware and software will provide for this?
    Thanks, Brian

  • For whatever reason, apple isn't keen on anything much more than audio functioning over bluetooth. The sony-ericcson phone I had 8 yrs ago could do more than the iphone3gs can with bluetooth. (proximity commands to PC, file transfer, audio, application control, etc.)

    I don't expect the iPad to provide more than the iphoneOS in terms of bluetooth, but I do expect a major software revision by the end of the year (launch +6-8months), and anything's possible, but realistically, don't hold your breath for bluetooth GPS or NMEA data.

    iNavX + MacENC looks to be the best bet for the time being, and can send NMEA via TCP/IP to the iphone from a Mac via WiFi.

    hope this helps,


  • Will the Ipad charge while its in use? Is there a port or docking station for a wired ehternet connection?

  • Sandy, I think it's yes on one, but no on two. The iPad is not like traditional computers, though some think it might replace many laptops. A paradox that will come true??? We'll know better soon, but in the meantime, Wikipedia has pretty good system details:

    PS I read somewhere that over 50 Android, Linux, and Windows tablets will also come to market this year. Something may be going on.

  • Re: ipad gps I guess all this adds up to
    Bluetooth ipad/iPhone gps support would be
    nice but do not count on it. If you want to
    use your Navionics app you must - at least for now -
    buy the 3g higher priced ipad.
    Next need - a beautiful waterproof case that
    we can Velcro to the flybridge instrument
    panel! That will seriously underprice most existing
    choices (like my brand new nse-12).

  • "Next need - a beautiful waterproof case that we can Velcro to the flybridge instrument panel."
    I am told by an apple insider that the elegant waterproof case solution is, ready, a one gallon ziplock. Whew, that saves a bundle. More cash for apps I guess.

  • An iPad arrived here at 1PM and m wife actually let me hold it. It is her first 'all mine' computer which she calls her virgin iPad.
    She feels all prior computers in her hands were previously deflowered by yours truly. For me I feel adding software is short of debauchery. In any case I tried out the ziplock bag waterproof case idea and the one gallon bag works perfectly. That is all I need to know to go ahead with a 3g model for the boat. Brian

  • I gotta ask this since I'm tired of seeing it: what do you mean by "not multitasking"? The OS absolutely is, it's only the interaction model (the user interface) that's based on a "one app at a time" approach.

    Or do you mean that apps can't talk to each other?

    Or something else?

    I don't get it.

  • With a week of ipad usage we continue to be impressed with the base wifi ipad.
    The insight case/stand is preferable to the other cases and usage with the apple BT keyboard for volume keying is excellent. As for the upcoming 3g model I would only consider if the gps function is important - as for navigation. The verizon mifi card is a preferred solution if you have multiple devices, and who does not these days. If you go the ATT 3g route strongly consider their soon to be released microcell to provde a more reliable signal on board - and use at home if needed. It will be another $150 and is our part of ATT capex for 2010.
    PS. For output to remote display pay the extra for the apple component adapter - much higher quality.

  • After a few days of iPad 3G use, I can most definitely report that the GPS is much, much better than the iPhone. The accuracy reported appears to be 30 feet or so. But more importantly, it actually works below deck in my boat. It seems to maintain its fix while underway and continuously report COG/SOG where the iPhone fails consistently.

    Time to first fix appears to take longer with the iPad 3G - but it's pretty accurate from the go.

    I've learned that the iPad 3G has a different chipset handling GPS than the iPhone. Thank heavens.

    Much more testing needs to be done.

    Can't wait!

  • I agree the iPad 3g gps is very robust locking on. I walked the the Port Jefferson ferry below the steel deck and never lost lock. The power consumption of the gps does need to be tested as I felt it was higher than watching video, for instance. Brian

  • question

    onboard, I have laptop, iphone and ipad

    but, marina wifi in their wisdom (here in Ireland anyway) will only let you login one device at a time (I would need to pay �120 for each extra device)

    my boat is my sometimes office

    what can i do to create a mini wifi zone onboard - i'm happy to hardwire kit, and to spend some $$$ on this, as it's a pain to have to login and logout, and visitors cannot use their devices onboard unless i logout


  • Hi Ash,

    Although there are lots of products out there that can share a 3G connection, there aren't that many one-box solutions for sharing a Wifi connection.

    Here is one though:
    Ruckus Mediaflex 2200.

    An alternative would be a Wifi client back to back with a Wifi access point.

  • I am writing this from my flybridge and I must advise that despite my hopes the iPad is just not a bright enough screen to be used for nav from an open bridge.
    It has a great gps and the nav software explosion will continue so for an enclosed bridge it is a great choice.
    Referring to a prior post the ATT microcell is irrelevant to any cruising underway discussion as it requires a hardwired fast Ethernet connection.
    Happy Memorial Day. Brian

  • That's inconvenient for me. But I also love Ipad much!

  • The iPad GPS is amazing. As Jeff Siegel wrote, it works thru the steel decks of the Long Island Ferry.

    That was also our experience just yesterday. Are the days of mounting GPS's outside our sailboat hulls numbered ?

  • I have 3 or 4 GPS antennas mounted under the dash of Gizmo's flying bridge, with oodles of electronics above them, and another hidden under the deck, and they all work fine. I might do surface mounts if I was installing things more long term, but going to much trouble to get a GPS antenna high up in the open seems like wasted effort these days.

    The exceptions to those installs are a Garmin XM antenna and a Furuno SC30 sat compass. The XM needed a bit more open sky than under the FB dash (or it occasionally lost signal and alarm you can't seem to turn off!). The sat compass needs a pretty clear sky view, apparently true of the breed. It didn't even work well on the open aft boat deck, but fairly near the antenna mast with several radomes, etc. It seems to be happy now velcroed on top of the BR24 forward of the flying bridge...looks kinda cool too ;-)