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FAA Approves iPad as Paper Flight Chart Substitute

Posted by Zack | Posted in Consumer Electronics | Posted on 01-03-2011

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pilotsIs there anything the iPad can’t do? Apparently not, considering it just might take the place of paper maps and flight charts. Since the invention of flight, pilots have used paper maps to navigate. Even in our advanced technological world with GPS systems and advanced avionics, pilots still hauled around nearly 20 pounds of charts and maps. But that could all be over soon as these paper maps may become a thing of the past thanks to Steve Jobs and his little toy known as the iPad.

The Federal Aviation Administration, otherwise known as the FAA, is allowing chart company Executive Jet Management to use Apple’s iPad as an approved alternative to paper charts. This authorization follows three months of hard testing and evaluation of the iPad and TC, a map app that was developed by aviation chart-maker Jeppesen.

This latest decision only applies to Executive Jet Management but does have implications for all aviation. By allowing the pilots to use the iPad as a primary source of information, the FAA is acknowledging the potential for consumer tablets to become instruments of avionics. Pilots have been impressed with the iPad since it came out, however, it could not be used in place of traditional paper charts or FAA-approved devices like more expensive, purpose-built flight bags until now. The iPad was decent as a reference but not as a pilot’s only source of information. This new FAA authorization changes that.

You would be surprised at all the things Jeppesen and Executive Jet Management went through in order to be approved by the FAA. The iPad had to go through such tests as rapid-decompression testing from as high as 51,000 feet and other tests to ensure that the device would not interfere with any critical navigation or electronic equipment. Executive Jet tested the iPad and Mobile TC in 10 different aircraft flown by 55 different pilots during 250 flights. While the tests succeeded, there was one thing on everybody’s mind, what if the iPad crashes?

Jeppesen’s Product Manager for Mobile TC app, Jeff Buhl, says that “the Apple iOS operating system and the app proved extremely stable during testing. In the unlikely event of a software crash it takes but a moment to get them running again. The recovery time for an application crashing or the OS crashing is extremely rapid.” During the FAA’s evaluation period, the iPad did not crash once. “But even if it did, it’s ready to go again in 4-6 seconds from re-launch to previous state,” Buhl says.

The FAA did, however, state that each individual operator, Executive Jet Management in this case, needs to develop specific procedures in order to deal with system or software crashes as well as other issues. Under such authorization, Executive Jet Management will require a second approved electronic device, most likely another iPad, in the cockpit as a backup.

Source: CNN – FAA approves iPads for pilots’ electronic charts

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Apple Planning for 6 million iPad 2s a Month

Posted by Zack | Posted in Consumer Electronics | Posted on 18-12-2010

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Apple iPad 2When Apple introduced the iPad, nobody believed that it would take off like it did. However, the iPad is one of the hottest selling pieces of technology out right now and everybody wants to get their hands on it. When Apple announced it was going to be coming out with a second generation iPad, people were ecstatic. And it seems Apple and Steve Jobs listened to the reviews because they have a great big plan in anticipation for this next device.

Apple believes that its anticipated second-generation iPad will be immensely more popular than the first generation device. So much so that Apple is expected to order as many as 6 million a month. If this is true, then this number would shatter the 4 million units a month Apple ordered for their first generation iPad. Sources overseas indicated that Apple added Chimei Innoulux and Cando, two additional touch panel makers, for production of the iPad 2.

These new suppliers join the team of iPad makers already comprised of Wintek, Sintek Photronics and TPK Touch Solutions. By adding Chimei Innoulux and Cando, Apple can reportedly produce more iPads per month allowing them to reach their 6 million a month mark. Sources have indicated that suppliers will begin shipments to Apple in January and February of 2011. This is consistent with previous reports that the iPad 2 would begin shipping within 100 days in order to allow Apple to stockpile for their April launch.

It has also been indicated that Apple has no interest whatsoever in producing a 7-inch iPad. A 7-inch iPad would be much smaller and lighter than the current 9.7-inch model. This is worth mentioning because there were many rumors floating around out there about Apple making a 7-inch iPad. Steve Jobs snuffed out this rumor back in October during Apple’s fourth quarter conference call. Jobs believes competing products, like the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab, have chosen a smaller size in order to reduce costs rather than usability.

According to Jobs, “When we make decisions on 7-inch tablets, it’s not about cost. It’s about value of the product when you factor in the software.”