iPad GPS Navigation – Preview
Yes, the iPad 3G (the one with GPS) is out and despite its size there are people considering using it as an in-car navigation system. While we’re just a few days into using the iPad 3G with GPS and few developers have had time to adjust, we can report how some of the various navigation applications function on the iPad. Most of these applications are iPhone apps, running on the iPad.
First, let’s talk about performance of the GPS chip itself. So far I’ve been very impressed. The GPS in the iPad gets a position fix faster than my iPhone 3G, and doesn’t drop the fix nearly as often. The accuracy looks very good. From what I’ve seen so far the GPS performance in the iPad is better than the iPhone 3G.
What follows are not “reviews” of these apps– we’ve already done that in most cases. Rather just a few short notes about any idiosyncrasies or issues specifically related to running the current iPhone apps on the iPad.
Since all of the apps mentioned are not compiled for both iPhone and iPad, they all either run in the tiny window at original resolution, or “2x” zoomed where they show some pixelation. Text looks particularly bad when zoomed, however the graphics on the apps were not horrendous.
I didn’t have any significant issues with the TeleNav app, aka “AT&T Navigator”. Unlike the other apps tested TeleNav doesn’t include on-board mapping so be sure you’re on the unlimited data plan if you go this route as it won’t take many miles of driving to suck down 250MB of data.
The Navigon appalso didn’t experience any significant issues. With on-board maps you won’t chug down a ton of data (things like traffic and Google search excluded will use data).
The one app I tried that I did have issues with was the TomTom App. It complained when I launched the app that it wasn’t connected to a GPS, and then continued to flash “Connect to GPS” in the title bar. Ironically, it could track my current position as I drove along, however it would not update my route progress. For example I created a route and it would show the highlighted route, but it wouldn’t show me the distance to the next turn nor provide any voice guidance. All it did was draw the route on the map. In all fairness, these apps were not designed for the iPad but it is interesting that this particular app choked while others didn’t. I imagine this will be addressed.
A tiny note that CoPilot does have an “HD” version of their app out specifically designed for the iPad. I haven’t included it here for two reasons. First, because it is designed for the iPad it doesn’t fit in the same class as these apps and should be evaluated separately. Second in my testing of their iPhone app I’ve found their map data to be so bad that it was practically unusable for navigation in the three states I’ve used it in.
So how are you going to mount the thing? With the Scosche in-vehicle iPad mount of course!