Which iPad should I Get? (April 2017)
Do I need the 3G ('Cellular') version?
Essentially, yes. OzRunways requires a GPS to see your position on the maps. The GPS is integrated with the 3G chip, so yes: you should get the 3G/4G/Cellular version, even if you never put a SIM card in there.
NOTE: Hotspot from another iOS device will NOT provide your WiFi 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 get the WiFi-only version, OzRunways will work but you won't get all the awesome GPS functionality unless you buy an external GPS for around $120. Best just to get the 3G version.
Further, a lot of the features of OzRunways rely on a cellular connection. NOTAMs, Met, Radar, Traffic all require a data connection. you can get data via hotspot from a phone, but that can be fiddly and it won't give you a GPS position. The best combination is a Cellular model iPad combined with a data plan or pre-paid data sim.
What Memory Size do I Need?
OzRunways requires between 5-15GB of storage depending on what you install for Australia (NZ slightly smaller), so while a 16GB model will get you over the line, we don't recommend a 16GB model. OzRunways strongly recommend getting the 32GB model as a minimum, however it is best to get the biggest storage size your budget allows.
Testing in April 2017 shows OzRWY set up for VFR flight 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.
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.
The app will grow in storage size as route, sized tracks and aircraft profiles are added. If you are storage sensitive, 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 ensure your app stays lean and minimises memory usage.
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 - it depends what you download).
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 still 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).
Alternatively, 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!
Which model should I buy?
In a sentence, the most recently released 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 OzRnways support the last two versions of iOS. As of April 2017, this is iOS 9 and 10. The app may run on older versions but users will experience problems and older versions of iOS are not supported.
Support for iOS 8 has been formally discontinued and only iOS devices which can run iOS 9 or greater are supported by OzRunways. Please be aware iOS 9 support by OzRunways will probably cease shortly after iOS 11 is released, so 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 iPad mini 2 or iPad Air models as these devices will most likely not be supported in iOS 11. The older devices will also struggle to render the app nicely with all the features enables, such as weather radar.
iPad mini 4 Cellular - The go to device for a small iPad solution. These are the small, A5 size 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 cheaper iPad Mini 2 that's still for sale some places will not run iOS 10 and is likely to be unsupportable come the release of iOS 11. Apple has stopped selling the mini 2, so the mini 4 is now the only mini version offered for sale by Apple.
iPad Air 2 Cellular - This is a not-so-new model of the big iPad (9.7"), just under A4 sized. Again, half our subscribers prefer this model due to the bigger screen size. We strongly advise against purchasing the older iPad Air (if you can still find one for sale), make sure you get an iPad Air 2! The iPad Air 2 has now been superseded by the iPad (see below) and you won't find them for sale through Apple as of 2017.
iPad Pro Cellular - 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 Air 2 and iPad). Extremely fast and 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.
iPad (2017) Cellular - This is a solid device for running OzRunways, comparable to the iPad Air Pro in some ways, but more so like the iPad Air 2.