ForeFlight Flies on iPad 2: Performance Tests from Launch Weekend

ForeFlight Mobile HD runs great on iPad 2

Apple launched iPad 2 this weekend: a thinner, lighter iPad with 2x the processing power of the original. ForeFlight Mobile HD, the top-selling iPad aviation app, runs like a dream on iPad 2. You’ll appreciate the extra speed when launching the app, loading airports, switching tabs, and installing the monthly data updates. The extra processing power and RAM makes everything feel snappier. The ‘Maps’ area of the app really flies – swiping through sectionals, enroute charts, animated radar, and fuel prices has never been faster!

We updated the ForeFlight iPad Buying Guide for Pilots to include our recommendations for iPad 2. Much of our advice hasn’t changed:

  • The 16GB model will hold all the ForeFlight data, but 32GB is recommended if you plan to load other apps or movies.
  • WiFi-only models do not contain a GPS chip, so an external GPS adapter is recommended.  Our favorite is the Bad Elf.
  • If you buy a 3G model, you do not have to subscribe to a 3G Data Plan to use the built-in GPS chip.
  • If you buy a 3G model, we still recommend an external GPS adapter for better accuracy.

Should pilots who own the original iPad upgrade to the iPad 2? We don’t think it’s necessary.  The screen resolution on the iPad 2 is the same as the original iPad, so apps look the same.  It will take a few months for 3rd party accessories like cases and kneeboards to support the new iPad, so your selection will initially be limited to Apple accessories. However, if you’re frequently switching between apps or want to get the best performance possible, then you’ll appreciate the new iPad 2.  And remember – the original iPad makes the perfect gift for a loved one!

We ran some performance tests to see how the iPad 2 stacks up against the original iPad.  We measured how long it took to install the Airport Database, which is one of the few long-running tasks inside the app.  Note that we only measured the installation time, not the download time, so network bandwidth doesn’t affect the test results.  The iPad 2 performance improvements clearly shine through:

Many thanks to longtime ForeFlight user James Kapantais for help with the performance tests.  James camped out at the Apple Store in North Dallas and was #1 in line to buy his new iPad.  When the doors opened on Friday night, 781 people were lined up behind him!  Here’s a picture of James in line and with his new iPad 2:

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  1. Pingback: iPad2 and Foreflight Mobile HD | FlightBlog

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