ForeFlight: iPad Mini Will Ignite Pilot Sales

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With this week's news that Apple we release the iPad Mini on Nov. 2, aviation app providers are almost certain to see increased sales as a result. "After every new Apple device release, we've always seen a wave of new pilots and new customers. There's always a group of pilots waiting to see what new technology brings," said Tyson Weihs of ForeFlight, a leading aviation app. AVweb spoke to Weihs at Redbird Flight Simulations' industry training conference on Wednesday. Although the iPad has achieved impressive penetration in the GA market as an all-purpose navigator, plate reader, E6B and pre-planner, many users have complained that it's just a bit too large for the cockpit. The Mini measures 7.9 by 5.3 inches and is barely a quarter inch thick. It weighs .68 pounds, according to Apple. Base price is $329. By comparison, the iPad2 measures 9.5 by 7.3 inches, with a base price of $399.

Weihs says he believes many buyers will pull the purchase trigger on size alone. "The iPad mini is different than previous releases because it brings it to cockpits not previously adopted for size reasons," Weihs told AVweb. "For example, guys in RVs, we have military customers flying T-38s, so I think this is going to be really good for a number of segments. I think we'll see a big push as the Christmas season approaches and we'll see a lot of new pilots carrying iPads." Weihs also reports that commercial customers are likely to adopt the iPad in larger numbers this year. During 2012, many carriers and commercial customers were evaluating the iPad against potential Windows or Android entries. "Many of the carriers we've spoken to have cancelled those evaluations and they've gone back to the iPad," Weihs said. What to expect from apps in the coming year? More emphasis on sophisticated moving maps and integrated functions such as ADS-B and AHRS.

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