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Claude Potvin
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Is there a GPS in the iPad air?

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Is there a GPS in the iPad Air that works without cellular reception? A real GPS that determines position from satellites?

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Tom Chai
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The GPS module is built into the cellular module, so if you buy a wifi version, there is no GPS capability.

GPS does not entirely rely on cellular signal, it only speeds up synchronization. Even without any cellular service, GPS will still work fine

GPS does not require cellular service to work. What Apple did do is if you do have cellular services the cell towers can augment the GPU signal (getting better accuracy). This is useful in cities where the signal could be blocked or faint. On the open rural roads you won't need a cellular service to have GPS services.

Dan,

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Brett
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The GPS system in iPads and iPhones relies upon the cellular connection. It uses the towers to pinpoint the location. If you get a non-cellular model of the iPad Air, then you can only get location from wifi.

Just to correct your statement here you do have a real GPS system in your iPad when you buy a cellular/WiFi model. What Apple offers is an extension to straight GPS services by augmenting location with the cell towers. This is very useful in the cites were the needed GPS signals can be blocked by buildings.

Dan,

One thing here is if you do get the cellular model you don't need to sign-up for cell service to get GPS services. GPS is a free service and not dependent on a cell service contract. But you will need to have access to the mapping service (Apple or Google) via WiFi or download to your iPad a map application (TomTom).

Dan,

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Gabor Salamon
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The iPad does not need cellular connection for GPS service. It's just that Apple chose not to include a GPS in the wifi only models.

The issue is the antenna needed for the GPS is also the cellular services antenna, which is why you need a Cellular/WiFi version. This is also true with other phones or tablets. Again, getting a Cellular/WiFi version of the iPad air doesn't force you to signup for a service plan in order to gain GPS.

Dan,

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Bla Blasen
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If there isn't GPS in WIFI models, why can my sons iPad Air show excatly where it is ?

Good Q! - The answer is the WiFi connection, without it it is unable to triangulate basted on its IP address (or router) via TCP/IP

Dan,

It's actually based on MAC address, because IP is very unreliable and you won't get any IP if you are not connected to the station.

Tom Chai,

It depends on how you are connected, if you are behind a firewall then its the IP address. In the case of a bridge the MAC address. In thrush its quite complex, as your iPhone (or friends) that connects into your WiFi network AP discloses the location using its GPS. In some cases the AP is not exposed or accessed by a GPS enabled device, in this case the IP address method is used.

Dan,

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crost
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so all devices with wifi version doesn't have GPS, I didn't know that

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achat ipad air

Edited by: crost ( )

The cellular models have direct GPS access. While the WiFi depend on WiFi AP's which are known and are used as the nearest point. So if you are in the middle of the ocean that won't help you unlike the cellular models. But remember in the middle of the ocean you won't have cellular services either, so you can't access Apples or Googles map services! You will need to get ahead of your trip a GPS application that has the maps of the area/s you are in. Then you end up having a standalone GPS type device.

Dan,

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john
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Dan: if the iPad is a cellular model, does there have to be a sim card inside the iPad for the GPS system to be activated?

John

No, the sim is used by the cellular network. not the GPS services. With that said, you still want the cellular network services as GPS services may not be accessible in the city due to building shadows (blocking the GPS signals). In that case the cell towers are used to augment the location. So to simplify things here GPS used the radio of the cellular models, The cellular nets & the WiFi nets augment. If you have a WiFi only model then you only get the WiFi location services. Also don't forget you still need access to a map service or application to complete things here.

Dan,

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tiotaco
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If it is true that cell service not needed why does my Ipad Air w/ cellular capability but no services, tell me that map services not available because no internet service available.

Map services are dependent on a network connection to the Internet. So if you can't connect you can't access the maps on the Apple or Goggle servers being asked for by the triangulation of the GPS services within the iPad Air.

Dan,

There are offline map apps available, these are totally internet independent.

Tom Chai,

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ted renard
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There is a lot of nonsense originating from Apple themselves to cover up the fact that their products, in the majority, do not have a gps chip. I looked into this quite closely as I required a GPS signal when sailing out of range of mobile phone/wifi etc. GPS requires no assistance. The basic standard raw gps signal is, for the most part, accurate to sub-10metres. Assisted GPS, an Apple-only invention, has nothing to do with GPS at all, but relies on establishing your location via triangulation from cell phone masts, or, if available, a wifi signal. There are several additional services that can be used by dedicated GPS systems - DGPS, WAAS, EGNOS and GLONASS but the receiving unit for all of these generally has a GPS chip (usually called SIRF-STAR and a model number) and can usually deliver sub-2metre accuracy. None of the Apple products I've ever had hands on have had this chip built in. I have less than zero interest in location services of the type they prefer you to use, as these are also tracking services so they can flog your details to companies near where you hang out, and you can then get the friendly advets flogging you a pizza made out of used car tyres :-). This tracking is not usually possible using GPS unless you have a rescue beacon. If you're talking to Apple, ask them for a written spec sheet and a guarantee that your GPS will work without a phone SIM card and without WiFi. If they start rambling instead of a straight "yes we can", walk away. John, Liveaboard, UK.

In the design schematics there are GPS antennas and GNSS signal routes PERFECTLY written. I don't know where you heard BS like "Assisted GPS is not GPS and it do not use satellite signals. Wifi only devices do not have GPS capabilities, this I agree.

Tom Chai,

Different iPad models offer different services! If you get an iPad with a cellular function you do get a REAL GPS system. If you get the model with WiFi services only you don't!

Dan,

Lastly, not all GPS services are available to consumer equipment and they don't offer sub 10 meter positional resolution that is reliable (military grade GPS do). With that said cellular assisted services do offer better positional resolution when used in combination with GPS services. You'll need to do a little more work on your data sources as they are not correct.

Dan,

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john
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WOW there seems to be a lot of confusion and lack of knowledge about this topic, myself included. Can anyone find an Apple manager to give us the definitive picture?

On a different but related tack.....what are the best APP maps for trekking in different parts of the world that can be downloaded onto an iPad with cellular capacity and then used offline and used to locate one's position on the map?

John

John - It's well documented on Apples web site iPad Air - Location (same for the mini & older models) WiFi only model - Wi‑Fi & Digital compass; Cellar/WiFi model - Wi‑Fi, Digital compass, Assisted GPS and GLONASS Cellular. Apple uses the same GPS parts in its iPads that cellphones use (including the iPhone models). The part that is confusing to many is the inter-link with data services for accessing maps and positioning on a back-end server (Apple or Goggles). Unless you get a stand-alone onboard map services like TomTom which converts your iPad into a more traditional GPS device, but these apps are expensive & only cover limited areas.

Dan,

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Wessex Tubas
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Strange when I was in Washington DC we managed to navigate around the city using my iPad air with the blue dot on the map although it is wi-fit only. How it knew where we were, I don't know!

Many cites now have open WiFi hotspots. DC has one of the largest matrix of open AP's. As long as the AP is broadcasting the location it is known by your iPad. Allowing the Map service to leverage it to know where you are. But your iPad also needs access to Map application & data file of the area which would need to be on your iPad or accessible via an open WiFi network. Basically Apple makes it look like Magic ;-}

Dan,

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