Which iPad should I Get? (June 2017)
Do I need the 3G/4G ('Cellular + Wifi') version of the iPad I want to buy?
Essentially, yes. OzRunways requires a GPS to see your position on the maps. The GPS is integrated with the cellular (3G/4G) chip, so yes: you should get the Cellular version, even if you never put a SIM card in there because it has GPS. The Wifi only versions of the iPad no not have GPS.
NOTE: Hotspot from another iOS device will NOT provide your WiFi only iPad with a GPS position, except intermittently. Please, do not purchase a WiFi only device expecting a phone to provide GPS position to the iPad, as this does not work.
If you do choose to purchase a WiFi-only version of the iPad, OzRunways will work but you won't get all the awesome GPS functionality unless you buy an external GPS for around $120. You also won't have access to the internet driven features unless you mess around connecting the iPad to your iPhones internet. Best bet if you want GPS and the full OzRunways experience is to just spend the little bit extra and get the 'wifi + cellular' version.
What other benefits does a cellular iPad give me?
A lot of the features of OzRunways rely on a cellular data connection. NOTAMs, Met, Radar and Traffic all require a data connection. You can get data via hotspot from an iPhone, but setting that up can be fiddly and it won't give you a GPS position. The best combination is a Cellular model iPad and a data plan or pre-paid data sim.
What Memory Size do I Need?
OzRunways requires between 5-15GB of storage space depending on what you install for Australia (New Zealand slightly smaller). So while a 16GB model will get you over the line, we don't recommend a 16GB model as memory management will be a pain. OzRunways strongly recommend getting the 32GB model as the absolute minimum, however it is best to get the biggest storage size your budget allows. Realistically, modern iPads of less than 64GB storage are not a great idea.
Testing in April 2017 shows OzRWY set up for VFR flight in Australia with only the essential files weighs in at 800MB. The files downloaded in this configuration are the Hybrid VFR Chart (WAC, VNC, VTC, Inset combined), ERSA, PCA, AIP SUP and AIC, and AIP. Adding the terrain files increases this by a few GB as these seemingly small files unzip to be quite large on the disk.
An IFR setup, consisting of all ERC and TAC charts, DAPS, CAR, CAA, CASR's plus the previously mentioned VFR items come to a total of 1.54 GB. Again, adding things like terrain files and Street Address Search will grow the app substantially.
The app will grow in storage size as route, saved tracks and aircraft profiles are added. If you are a storage sensitive OzRunways user, it is best to plan to delete and reinstall the app every 6 or 12 months to coincide with the ASA map changeovers. This will delete all the saved information and ensure your app stays lean and minimises memory usage. Remember to back up any files you wish to keep before deleting the app!
Note: Files such as street address search, terrain files, open street map, WAC's, ASA Safety Documents etc all take up a lot of space (which is where the 5-15GB size band comes from) The ultimate size of your OzRWY install will depend on what you download, what you save and how you maintain your install.
Do I need a sim card for my 3G/4G iPad?
No, the GPS will work without one on a cellular model (Remember: NO GPS in WiFi only iPads!!!).
BUT - we strongly recommend getting a sim card as you'll have access to data on-demand if you forget to download the maps at home during an amendment. Also your GPS fix will be quicker as it uses Assisted-GPS to help get a faster fix (it's still a real GPS...just works better!).
Having a Sim-card also enables you to use your iPad for email & weather.
We recommend the Telstra network for flying in Australia due to the awesome coverage (we have no affiliation with Telstra). Participation in the traffic network (which requires a data connection) allows friends and family to track you whilst you fly. Traffic provides a level of safety too in the unlikely event you have a mishap; it might help SAR agencies find you quicker.
Alternatively, if you do not have a sim card, you can "tether" your iPad to your iPhone via WiFi. You need to enable the Personal Hotspot in settings on the iPhone and join the network on your iPad. This really chews through the iPhone's battery, so make sure it is connected to ship's power and again, tethering via a hotspot will not give you a GPS position! Traffic and weather will still work using this method, but it isn't the easiest or most convenient solution.
Which model iPad should I buy?
In a sentence, the most recently released iPad model is the best.
Apple uses a sales technique called 'planned obsolescence'. This involves ceasing operating system support for hardware models after a period of time, which effectively forces users in to upgrading their hardware if they wish to take advantage of new software features.
OzRunways is unfortunately susceptible to the Apple methodology of planned obsolescence; to keep the app up to date requires us to update the app whenever a new operating system is released. This creates the problem of OzRunways having to maintain seperate versions of the app for different versions of the operating system: due to changes Apple makes to the code system in each new iOS, it is impossible to make the app indefinitely backwards compatible.
The result is that OzRunways supports the last two versions of iOS. Currently, this is iOS 10 and 11. Whilst there is no further development IOS 9 the app will still work. Users running older versions of IOS may experience problems and it is important to note that older versions of iOS are not supported by OzRunways.
Support for iOS 8 has been formally discontinued and only iOS devices which can run iOS 9 or greater are currently supported by OzRunways. If you are looking for a new device it is best to purchase the latest possible version of iPad you can afford to ensure the longest life. We do not recommend second hand iPad mini 2 or iPad Air models as these devices will most likely not be supported by Apple in iOS 11. The older devices will also struggle to render the app nicely with all the features enabled, such as weather radar.
New iPad Options Here are our thoughts on the 7.9" mini iPads, and the 9.7"/10.5" standard sized iPads.
iPad mini 4 (Cellular) - Apple Price as of May 2017 $779 AUD (cellular 128GB). This is the go to device for a small iPad solution. These iPads are the small, A5 sized devices. Easy to transport, but smaller maps & ERSA due to smaller screen size. Lots of people prefer them due to the portability, but make sure the screen size suits your needs (these are the smallest screen CASA will approve if you are an AOC holder). The mini 4 is a powerful device, and still performs very well considering its age.
iPad Pro Cellular - Apple Price April 2017 $1049 AUD (Cellular 32GB) The most awesome iPads ever. The 12" is too large for the cockpit, but the 9.7" can work for you if you prefer the 'bigger' sized device (same dimensions as the older Air 2 and iPad). About half our subscribers prefer this model due to the bigger screen size. The Pro is extremely fast and features the most readable screen in bright sunlight. If you want a 9.7" tablet and can spend this much on it, you should get an iPad Pro. The larger 12" device is great if you need an OzRunways install for the crew room, classroom or Operations Desk.
The new 10.5" iPad Pro is an excellent choice as well.
iPad (2017) Cellular - Apple Price April 2017 $669 AUD (Cellular 32GB) This is a solid device for running OzRunways, comparable to the iPad Pro in some ways, but more so like the recently superseded iPad Air 2. This iPad is perfect for most budgets and starts at a decent price for the 32GB model, with the 128GB model only costing $799.
Second Hand Devices Second hand tablets can be great value, but you need to know what you are getting first. The 'older' model devices which do not run iOS10 are not worth investing in, but a second hand device which runs iOS 10 might make a good 'backup' device. It is not recommended to use a second hand device as a primary EFB, as you might not know its history and that can lead to unexpected surprises.
iPad Air 2 Cellular - This 9.7" is no longer for sale from Apple. This is still an OK device for running OzRunways and could give you a few more years of use (depending on what Apple do with iOS 11).
iPad mini 2/3 - The iPad mini 2/3 will run iOS 10, so for now it should be fine for OzRunways though it won't perform as well as a mini 4. We recommend users who have an iPad mini 2 start thinking about replacing that device as iOS 11 nears.
iPad Air - The iPad Air will also run iOS 10, so for now it should be fine for OzRunways. We recommend users who have an iPad Air start thinking about replacing that device as iOS 11 nears.
iPad 2 - This device is no longer suitable for using OzRunways. If you still have an iPad 2, we suggest replacing it from use as an EFB in the near term. It is more than likely 2nd Generation devices such as the iPad 2 are over 5 years old. Older devices present more hazards when used as EFB's, with one problem being battery life which will have degraded over the life of the device - probably to an unacceptable level. Add to this known problems with iOS 9, poor screen resolution and low CPU performance and it is safe to say the days of the iPad 2 are behind us. OzRunways does not develop for, or test on an iPad 2 any longer.