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Old 11-17-2014, 10:14 PM   #1
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iPad Size Preferences

Hi everyone, I am looking at iPads with the thought of using it for charting and navigation, in addition to other common purposes. I have decided to go with Apple versus an android platform. So the decision now is the full size iPad or the iPad mini. The size of the mini is more convenient, but the real estate on the full size is nice. Has anyone used the iPad with some navigation apps and has any opinion if the larger iPad really benefits?

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Old 11-17-2014, 10:35 PM   #2
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I have both size iPads and iPhone 5 all running Navionics. While the extra real estate of the full size iPad can never be a negative I prefer the iPad mini. 15 years and stronger prescription glasses may change my mind.

Craig - AKA Some Clueless Idiot

The person who is saying something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:57 PM   #3
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iPad Size Preferences

I run Bluechart on my iPhone and IPad. I prefer the Ipad, although when doing short dinghy excursions I prefer my iPhone because of it's smaller form factor.
Thanks, Oliver
M/V Oliver
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:13 PM   #4
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As a film/video producer director, there is no such thing as too large a screen. i have a full-size iPad and love it. My wife has a mini, and while it's okay and, since it's on the same account, it has all the same apps as mine, i dont much like using it.

And if you do get an iPad, regardless of the size, make sure you get the wifi/cellular model. It has a stand-alone GPS/Glonas reciever in it. The wiffi only model does not, which means you have to have connectivity in order to plot your position. With my iPad II wifi/cellular, I can find and track my position on a road map app, or on a marine chart using Navimatics, with no connectivity at all. I have used it in China, the Middle East, Malaysia, France, and many more places to find out where we were or how to get to where we wanted to be, witn no connectivity whatsoever. Wifi off and celluar off.

We use the iPad with the Navimatics app on our boat as a "big picture" device, zooming in and out or panning around the charts with just a few finger swipes. Navimatics also has Active Captain on it, so there is a ton of information available at the tap of the screen And since we have the wifi/cellular model (both my iPad II and my wife's newer Mini) we can do this out on the water with no phone signal, no wifi signal, nothing.

This is impossible to do with the wifi only model. So even if you don't have or want a cellular account, if you have the cellular model iPad, you can take advantagea of the built in GPS/Glonas receiver in this same way.

It's amazing how many clerks in the electronic stores don't have a clue about this difference in capabilities. It's listed in the iPad specs on the Apple site, but you have to drill down quite a bit to find it.
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Old 11-18-2014, 04:32 AM   #5
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Like Marin said, only I like Craig, have Navionics on mine. But yes, you need one that takes a simcard, and has the built in GPS. They all have WiFi of course. I use mine in the car, on the boat, anywhere I want to know where to go. Definitely the large iPad for mine. The new iPad Airs are all that and more, and slimmer and lighter, with longer batt life, which must be damn good, because the batt life in my iPad 2 is pretty good already.
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Old 11-18-2014, 04:52 AM   #6
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There are rumors Apple is coming out with a 12.9 inch Retina iPad model in the first or second quarter of 2015. I subscribe to the bigger is better theory that Marin mentioned and find the possibilities for the larger model to be intriguing. The admiral and I currently have iPad Air models with AT&T cellular. The video improvement of the Retina screen resolution is significant. Loaded ActiveCaptain and Navionics but haven't had the chance to use them much. There is also an app called MyRadar which can come in handy. There are several other weather radar programs that might be just as good but this is the one I chose and it is one of my favorite apps. It's initially free but there are a couple of $2 each enhancements that make it more useful like the riddance of ads and another for hurricane tracking.

A couple of other marine apps I've installed are FindShip Pro and HIN Search along with Trawler Forum, Yachtworld, and iHurricane.

My brother bought an iPad Mini about a month ago and already wishes he spent $100 more for the full size model. There is a second rumor that Apple may discontinue the Mini when the new 12.9" comes out as sales have been disappointing.
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Old 11-18-2014, 07:33 AM   #7
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I use an iPad mini for personal use and love it. A full size iPad is just too big to lug around. I now dedicate the older full size iPad to the boat and it works well for that, and I very much appreciate the larger screen.

One thing to watch out for. On my large iPad (not sure which generation it is) if you are wearing polarized sun glasses the screen goes black when held horizontally. I've sat there poking and swearing at the thing wondering why it isn't turning on, only to find that it's working fine, but invisible to me. The iPad mini dims a bit when horizontal, but is still visible.

So if you are going to buy one, take sunglasses with you to the store and give it a try before purchasing.....
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Old 11-18-2014, 07:40 AM   #8
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I think it just comes down to personal preference. When I was a professional traveler, I always thought the fullsize iPad was too big to be convienient and always wanted a mini. Now that it sits at home most of the time and I use it primarily for looking at boat porn on yachtworld, I like the fullsize. One thing I do not like about Apple is you are heavily restricted to what content goes on it. From GPS apps to a simple movie, my Android phone runs circles around my iPad in that regard. Of course Apple has much nicer hardware fit and finish. I guess at the end of the day, get what fits the application best.

I run NOAA charts on a 5 year old netbook that has an HDMI port which goes to my 24" flatscreen in the saloon. I swivel it over when navigating at the lower helm. The TV was $150 at Best Buy and came with an external power brick. I cut the cord and wired it straight to 12v DC on my switch panel. So for about $300, I have a dual screen GPS chartplotter which I could then overlay other options with additional hardware if I wanted. Granted it is much bigger but with the location of my TV already, I like having the screen space and could never downsize to something smaller for more money.

Then again I could stream my GPS data into the router on board and use a tablet up on the flybridge connected to the WiFI...doh, I just felt my wallet get thinner...
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Old 11-18-2014, 07:55 AM   #9
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One note is that the just introduced full sized iPad Air has far better sunlight viewing than the old iPads or the current mini. You can get GPS to them via, for instance the Bad Elf Lightning port model or Garmin GLO or Dual bluetooth units, all available for 100 bucks or less. Nice thing about that route is it affords GPS functionality to other devices on board, such as PCs.

"There's the Right Way, the Wrong Way, and what some guy says he's gotten away with"
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Old 11-19-2014, 07:08 AM   #10
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One side note on sunlight viewing - I own both an ipad 3 (which I believe is same screen as the 4) and the Air that was available in Feb 2014 (long story).

In my experience, With polarized sunglasses, the 3 is best viewed horizontally and the Air vertically. So I prefer the 3 for navigation and the air on the beach reading a book etc. Although, I'd guess due to higher resolution, the 3 is almost unreadable vertically while I can still at least see the Air fairly well in horizontal.
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Old 11-19-2014, 07:59 AM   #11
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As a bit of an aside - I had a look at an iPhone6+ today. Just renewed new phone contract 2 days ago and went with 6 - considered the 6+ but thought it would be too big for my liking when used as a phone (90% of time). But the 6+ is quite a handy size if you wanted it primarily for 'on you all the time' app use.

Put it this way -I've had smaller sounders/fish finders on my boats in the past
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Old 11-19-2014, 09:04 AM   #12
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I like the larger size for the reasons above, especially for zooming in on details while still having enough visible real estate around the detail to maintain reference points. We once found ourselves stuck on mound of sand in Biscayne Bay that was not charted on our plotters or the Navionics on the I-pad. We switched to Google Earth, zoomed in, and there it was, a white spot right under our GPS marker. The larger I pad enabled us to see the spot AND the nearest marker giving us a point of reference in which direction to back off. With the smaller version at the same zoom, the marker wouldn't have been visible on the screen.

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Old 11-19-2014, 12:33 PM   #13
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The comments about the iPad screen going dark or darker when viewed with Polaroid sunglasses are very valid. But I've not found it to be much of an actual problem.

I use my iPad II for everything, from accessing the internet to diagraming camera and lighting setups and moves prior to a shoot, to writing, to viewing PDFs for work, to slating scenes on a shoot, to taking handwriten notes during meeetings--- at last count I have some 75 apps on my iPad and I use most of them fairly regularly.

I don't read books on the iPad even though I have the Kindle app and so have the same books accessible on the iPad as on my Kindle. But I don't like reading on a backlit screen, and if the surroundings are bright the iPad screen becomes almost unusable. I've watched people on planes have to stop reading their iPads because someone opened a window shade or the plane turned to put sun directly on their screens, and that was that. All that happens with my old Kindle is that it gets even easier to read. Plus the Kindle's battery life is about a zillion times longer than the iPad's since it's not using power to light up the screen.

It would be great if Apple would put more connectivity into the iPad--- a USB port for example. Maybe now that Steve Jobs is gone they will (Steve absolutely detested the USB connector for some reason). I have adaptors to connect various things to the iPad--- inputs from audio boards, various card readers, and so forth. But it would be nice to have these connection ports right on the machine.

For the boat, we have a good tide and current app for this area, and Navimatics has tide and current stations on it's chart, too. Navimatics is a chart app, not a plotter app. We prefer a dedicated plotter anyway (Furuno and Echotec in our case). But the Navimatics app is outstanding for giving one the big (or small) picture with a few finger swipes. Much faster than turning the pages in a big chart book or zooming in and out on a plotter. And of course Navimatics has Active Captain on it, which is a great aid, particularly on a longer cruise.

And speaking of Active Captain, we have on both iPads and my wife's iPone the Drag Queen app, which is very cool as an anchor alarm.

There are "fake" AIS apps for the iPad. I have one called MarineTraffic. But they really aren't all that useful. One, you need connectivity to get the position information. And two, the position information is not real-time since it has to come through the outfit supporting the app. So while it will show the position and information about the AIS-transmitting vessels around you, the vessels that are underway usually aren't where the app says they are because of the delay. They are invariably some distance farther on from their position on the screen.

So if one feels AIS position information is important to their boating (we don't), then get a real AIS reciever or receiver/transponder. Don't rely on an app on your phone or iPad or whatever.
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Old 11-19-2014, 04:33 PM   #14
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We have put about 7000 miles on in the last year with an iPad mini as a back up Chartplotter using Bluecharts.

If I were to do it again I would go with the larger screen size.

Also the suction mount made by Smart Tab and available via Amazon was awesome for discretely and securely holding our iPad while under way even in heavy seas.


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