iPad mini Poised For Rapid Pilot Adoption


The mini, with a 7.9-inch (diagonal) screen, is smaller than the 9.7-inch iPad but contains the same speedy dual-core A5 processor as the iPad 2.Rx glasses The mini (Wi-Fi-only starting price $329) weighs 0.68 pounds compared with the nearly 1.5-pound regular iPad, and the mini is easy to hold in one hand and takes up far less cockpit real estate. The iphone protective case should be much simpler to mount and better able to use suction-cup mounts that stick to windows without worrying about damaging plastic windows by hanging too much weight on them. For yoke mounts, the mini will block much less of the instrument panel. While many expect the mini to be an ideal backup device for regular iPad EFBs, on its own it is large enough to work well as an EFB by itself.
The mini's screen real estate is about 18 percent less than the iPad's and the mini doesn't have the latest iPad's 264 pixel-per-inch (PPI) retina display (fourth-generation iPad). But the mini's smaller size means that it squeezes more pixels into a smaller space, thus its resolution is better than the iPad 2's (164 PPI versus 132). Touchscreen elements thus are 18 percent smaller. "It's not a huge reduction," said Rick Ellerbrock, Jeppesen's director for aviation strategy, "but it is noticeable. It's something we don't think is going to be a usability issue." Approach plates are a bit smaller than on the iPad, he said, "but it's surprisingly readable."Jeppesen's new Mobile FliteDeck 2.0 iPad app uses more of the available screen space, so that helps make terminal charts more readable on the iphone battery case.
Ellerbrock agrees that the mini will find common use as a backup device, especially in commercial operations where iPad use must be approved by regulators.Motion sensor light "There is a lot of freedom on how [operators] provide system failure backup," he said. "It can be another iPad, a laptop, a voice call to get specific information about an approach or some combination. Now we have a less-than-$350 backup device that is immediately accessible and quite readable,Safety goggles so that's pretty attractive."The mini will also encourage developers to create new apps for other crewmembers, thanks to its light weight and small size. "There may be a whole new set of apps that are enabled by the form factor for other uses like flight attendants and mechanics who don't have readability concerns or cockpit needs but love the form factor. Innovation springs forward with new devices."Jeppesen conducted decompression testing on both the iPad mini and the new fourth-generation iPad on November 6, and both units passed the test. The company said it does not "anticipate any issues for operators to gain regulatory authorization of Jeppesen Mobile apps on the iPad mini according to the FAA AC 120-76B standard or the EASA draft AMC 20-25 standard."

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