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Old 11-12-2011, 22:45   #1
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iPad

Gadget question. Does anyone here use an iPad aboard? My computer at home is getting long in the tooth and I'm toying with the idea of getting something to do the things that my old Mac won't. I know they make navigation apps, etc. for the iPad and thought it might be useful on board while cruising. Certainly easier to haul to shore to access WiFi than a laptop. Anyone have any onboard experience with one?
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Old 12-12-2011, 03:59   #2
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Re: iPad

We use an old notebook computer with an Iphone tethered as a modem. Works a treat for net access. I bought a GPS dongle and a $250 chart plotter software programme. I also added a wireless trackball and have a second, small Netbook computer under the wheelhouse roof as a nav aid at the wheel. Its cheap and works like a dream. Steering thru channels such as Great Sandy Strait is like Super Mario Car. Unreal.

My partner has an Ipad without 3G with WiFi which is also used off the Iphone 4.

If you just want to use for nav and yachty stuff, save your money and stick with notebooks. If you don't have a cell that can be a MODEM then maybe an Ipad is the go, but you need to pay more for the 3G version, as Wifi only wont work on coastal stuff.
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Old 12-12-2011, 04:18   #3
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Re: iPad

We use the IPad for backup navigation. The Navionics program can be purchased for as an app for any region in the world, and seems very accurate. You don't need 3G, which won't work as soon as you cross the border to another country without a local sims card. The charts are all downloaded onto your ipad, and the built in GPS finds your location.

If you happen to have internet it will also overlay google earth, and give you a wind direction and forecast wind speeds across the entire region. Royal Langkawi Yacht Club does not show on my chart plotter, and with the IPad it shows which berth we are in! The charts are updated so I am sure they are more accurate then my chart plotter.

We also downloaded a $4 anchor alarm qpp which works great, and gives me peace of mind. I worry about hearing the regular alarm, so I take the ipad to my berth and sleep more soundly.

It is also nice to be able to stick it in the oven during thunderstorms.

Now if they would just design a solar charger for it!

Cheers
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:23   #4
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Re: iPad

Best thing I like about my iPad aboard is not having to lug around heavy books. Every delivery I download a few novels to read during late night watches. I also have charts, Bowditch, etcetera. I only have the iPad 1, but with the second version (or to come 3rd), you can take photos which would be handy. Say 10 to 15 nm off the Atlantic coast you can usually pick up an 3G or E signal. Buy the Wi-Fi and 3G version. It's worth the extra cost.

I also like that, unlike on a smart phone, I can cancel the $15 monthly data plan anytime I like. There is no 2-year contract. If I do not need 3G for the month, I just cancel it.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:01   #5
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Re: iPad

A great Ipad advantage is that it's always "on" and very easy on the ship's batteries.

Other "apps" worth looking at:

Navimatics - US and Canadian charts plus active captain. Very fast. $24

Opentable for restaurant reservations

"Radar Scope" super professional weather radar

"Distant Sun" star maps

Newspapers (if you want to remind yourself why your not ashore)

If it's primarily for boat and home use, I'd consider getting it without 3G - instead see if you can add hotspot "wifi" tethering to your phone. Verizon has the option for Iphone and I think others for $20/month and this includes an extra 2GB of data. ATT has something too. Or consider a separate wifi hotspot to get 4G speeds for all your computers and phones on the boat. 4G is not available everywhere but you get 3G when it's not. My Verizon 4G is $50/month with 5GB of data and I get 18Mbs in 4G areas - faster than my house cable internet.

The one downside of the Ipad is that it doesn't support Flash. I don't find this a problem but make sure you don't depend on some site that requires it.

Carl
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:19   #6
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Re: iPad

If you get a non 3g model Ipad it does not have gps. so you can buy a 3g model without the service plan and get a mifi or jusy use wlan. If you buy the non 3g ipad it does not have gps.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:05   #7
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Re: iPad

We use an iPad routinely. I don't think I took my laptop aboard all last year. As has been said, you need the 3G version to get the GPS chip. The iPad's light weight, low power requirements and array of reasonably priced apps have made it our standard tool on board. I keep it in a ziplock bag in transit. It's one of the first things that gets packed on the way to the boat.
  • For navigation, we use iNavx with Navionics charts as our primary tool and Navimatics Charts and Tides for access to Active Captain. Yes, we use the Raymarine MFD, but it's such a pain to do routing with, we limit it to the next waypoints and for integration with the AP. I can't wait until there's an MFD I can load with routes from the iPad.
  • We use Boat Weather and TideGraph for quick information.
  • The Cruisers' Forum app keeps us in touch with this neighborhood.
  • I've been downloading user manuals that I can find online and storing them in iBooks. If I get ambitious this winter, I'll also scan some of the manuals that I've got on board.
  • Books via the Kindle app and movie rentals on iTunes keep the carry on bags free for more beer and wine.
There are several iPad threads on the forum that can give you an array of perspectives.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:44   #8
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If you buy a wifi version you can get a Bluetooth GPS puck as well. There are 3-4 choices I'm aware of.

SC
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Old 12-12-2011, 13:47   #9
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Re: iPad

We use our iPad2 onboard all the time. It serves so many puposes...chart plotter, eReader, anchor alarm, games for the kids, movies, AIS receiver, instrument display (spd, compass, angle of heel, etc.), and on and on...

Keep in mind that while you do NOT need to be receiving a 3G signal for the internal GPS to function on an iPad (used for Navionics and other apps), the internal GPS only comes on iPads equipped with 3G. In other words, WiFi-only iPads do not have GPS capabilities.

I recently wrote a quick review of my favorite iPad sailing apps here: Sail Far Live Free: Best Apps for Sailing and Boating
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Old 12-12-2011, 16:27   #10
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Re: iPad

Thanks for all of the input. I didn't know you needed the 3G to use GPS. Part of the reason I am looking at getting something else is that my Mac is so old it won't run the latest FlashPlayer. How do you get around not having Flash on the iPad? I guess it limits the sites you can go to?
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Old 12-12-2011, 18:18   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVMorningStar
Thanks for all of the input. I didn't know you needed the 3G to use GPS. Part of the reason I am looking at getting something else is that my Mac is so old it won't run the latest FlashPlayer. How do you get around not having Flash on the iPad? I guess it limits the sites you can go to?
You don't need 3G if you have a Bluetooth puck. I have a wifi model and this works fine. The puck is about $90 on eBay. I do think having the option for 3G service would be nice. (there are other options if you www jailbreak the device which mine isn't currently.). For flash avoidance I go to the mobile sites rather than regular for regular browsing. Frequently it's m.domain.com or mobile.domain.com type of syntax. Some sites switch this for you as well when they detect a mobile browser. Personally I don't miss it. Many think places have apps to work around this limitation too. SC

<edit to fix the auto correct goofs>
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Old 12-12-2011, 18:26   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVMorningStar
Thanks for all of the input. I didn't know you needed the 3G to use GPS. Part of the reason I am looking at getting something else is that my Mac is so old it won't run the latest FlashPlayer. How do you get around not having Flash on the iPad? I guess it limits the sites you can go to?
Yes limits you to non-flash sites. Get the 3G version. It's not that much more expensive?
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Old 12-12-2011, 19:34   #13
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Re: iPad

10+ for the iPad on a boat!
I rarely find the lack of Flash to be a problem, and then it is a very minor one at that. There are very good reasons why Steve never let Flash onto the iPad, as owners of "droids" with Flash are now finding out. So, it was a small concern to begin with, and it is getting smaller every day, as more web site managers and software designers are seeing the benefits of switching to HTML 5. It won't be long before it will be a non-issue. Heck, even Adobe has grudgingly accepted that Flash is problematic on mobile operating systems. (and not just Apple's!)
Love my iPad - do wish for a full-sunlight viewable screen, but that is a problem for a lot of devices out there.
I also agree - get the WiFi and 3G version, for the fine GPS it has built in. I would also recommend the 64 Gig. version.
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Old 12-12-2011, 19:43   #14
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Re: iPad

iPad 2 is my PRIMARY nav tool after my eyes! (look at my Av) The list of apps grows every day, and the unit has proven to be very durable inside an OtterBox Defender. The ONLY con to date is daylight viewing... works OK under the Bimini, but is crap in broad daylight.
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Old 12-12-2011, 19:50   #15
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Don't get confused with the term 3G in connection with iPad. The iPad is sold in two versions each with 3 sizes if memory, the Wifi version and the Wifi+3G version. The Wifi+3G version is equipped with an independant GPS, so your your applications will receive satellite positioningdata even if not connected to the internet.
I am using an iPad1 Wifi+3G 64GB and the application iNavx, which include all NOAA charts, and loads of nice features (including anchoralarm).
Its accurate, and the charts are very good (Navionics) the whole of the US for 35$.
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