Ipad mini wifi only and turn by turn directions?

Discussion in 'iPad Mini Forum' started by Toeslider, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. Toeslider

    Toeslider iPF Noob

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    Hello, browsed around a little bit and didn't find the answer I was looking for. I ordered a wifi only ipad mini for my parents for Christmas, thinking they could use it along with their Verizon mifi portable hotspot for turn by turn navigation in their RV. Then I started seeing in various forums that the wifi only iPads don't have GPS, so it might not work. I went in to the Apple store and spoke with an associate who assured me this combo would work, and after handling the ones in the store it appears that it would, but I just want to make sure. If it won't work, I would like to return the ipad unopened when I receive it.

    Is anyone doing this and having it work? In short, I need to know that as long as the ipad has a strong wifi signal coming to it that it will keep providing turn by turn directions? If it does work, do the new wifi only ipad minis have GPS in them, or are they still lacking it? If they don't have GPS, how is it able to work? Thanks for any input.
     
  2. Abneriel

    Abneriel iPF Noob

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    You can still use maps, it just won't provide real time automatic turn by turn due to the lack of the GPS.

    I returned my wifi only and picked up the Verizon LTE mini for that purpose.
     
  3. The OB

    The OB Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to the forum! Abnerial above is right. WiFi only models, like your ordered Mini, do not have a GPS chip and therefore no turn-by-turn GPS directional facility. The WiFi only version uses WiFi networks to provide location information by a method of triangulation of WiFi base stations. So your mini will provide some location information (often surprisingly accurate) such as the iPad's digital compass and locations as per your Maps app. But the lack of satellite navigation technology in your non-cellular Mini cannot in itself give turn-by-turn navigation like a dedicated GPS unit.
    All that being said, using a MiFi device such as you describe which creates your own external cellular hotspot should do the trick. However, I would look into any cost arrangements that may apply with Verizon to be completely in the know about the whole thing.
    There has also been some confusing discussion about tethering a cellular phone, that has a GPS transceiver, to the iPad. It seems unlikely that this can be done as most smart phones, including the iPhone, can only achieve internet access that way and will not transfer an iPhone's GPS data to the WiFi only iPad.
    Regards, Andrew
     
  4. Abneriel

    Abneriel iPF Noob

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    If it helps, I tethered my iPad mini (wifi only) to my iPhone, and while it (the mini) then has data access and can load maps, it definitely does not have the ability to know its location through the iPhone. Definitely needs to be connected to a traditional land based wifi when calculating its location on the wifi only mini.

    I tried the different scenarios on mine before returning it for the data and GPS enabled mini.
     
  5. scifan57

    scifan57 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Also, the method of triangulating from wifi signals to arrive at a position will only work where there are sufficient wifi signals available. There aren't very many wifi signals available along major highways and especially not on some dirt road in the middle of nowhere. A stand alone GPS, an iPhone, or a wifi plus cellular iPad would be better.
     
  6. Toeslider

    Toeslider iPF Noob

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    That's interesting, because what you say is exactly what I expected after browsing around the Internet, but goes against what the associate told me, and what I observed in the store. The model I handled in the store was a wifi only model, and when I entered a route into it it seemed to work just like my 4g ipad, giving me the first instruction and showing it to me on the map, using the stores wifi signal. Obviously I wasn't able to test it any further than that, but it seemed like it would work, which goes against what I had read. The associate said something to the effect that "turn by turn was made available in ios6", and that claims that the wifi ipad mini was lacking the GPS were "untrue". That's why I'm looking for a second opinion. I won't really even be able to test it out myself before I give it to them, since I don't have anything that acts as a mobile hotspot. I really want them to have an ipad, since I think it is better than anything else out there, but not having good navigation on the fly is kind of a deal breaker. I don't really want to spend the extra money for a cellular ipad, since they don't need it, but I prefer the way the ipad works over a nexus or galaxy tab. Unfortunately a big part of the usefulness of an ipad to them would be the easy navigation.
     
  7. The OB

    The OB Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm sorry am I missing something here?. In your original post you appear to have discussed your parent's "VERIZON MiFi (not WiFi) PORTABLE HOTSPOT" device that they already have with the Apple associate. My point was that I think he was right if he was saying that combo would work. A MiFi unit, not over-expensive to buy, would very likely give your parents what they were after, but a WiFi only iPad would not. There is a difference between WiFi and MiFi.
    Regards, Andrew



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
  8. Toeslider

    Toeslider iPF Noob

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    Maybe I'm asking the wrong question. I understand the Mifi device uses a cellular connection to create a mobile hotspot that follows you around, that you connect to using a wifi connection. Essentially it is replacing the cellular portion of a cellular-enabled ipad. But if I understand correctly, the GPS chip in the ipad is part of the cellular chipset, so it is not included with the wifi only ipad. That being said, my question is: if a wifi signal is always present for the wifi only ipad to use, will the ipad provide turn by turn directions in Maps and track your location, or is the GPS chip still needed for that? That's what I have not been able to verify. I don't know enough about how the location sensing works to know if it can somehow get the information from a mobile hotspot, or if the hotspot needs to be stationary.

    What I'm worried about is not having enough time to try it out and still be in the window of time to return it if needed. I get it on the 13th, but I will not be able to test it out until the 25th. I think you get some extra time for returns of online purchases after Christmas, but I need to check on that. If not, I'll only have a couple days to test it out and get it back to an Apple store if I need to return it.
     
  9. AQ_OC

    AQ_OC Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't have experience with a MIFI device, so I really cannot speak to that. My understanding of it is that it is a hotspot that gives you cellular access to the internet, while out and about. So, in principle, one would expect to be able to use Apple Maps for navigation, provided GPS information is available. However, if the MIFI has no GPS tracking ability, and the iPad software doesn't know how to get that info, I don't think it will work. You should ask if the MIFI device servers as a GPS receiver for the iPad...if it doesn't it won't work. Or ask if good location based info can be obtained from the cellular network by using the MIFI. Most cell phones have GPS antennas in them...maybe the MIFI does too!

    What I know will work is to get a GPS receiver for the wifi-only iPad. I have the Dual XPG-150. It connects to the iPad via Bluetooth, and it provides the GPS signal the iPad needs for navigation. Then you need maps either stored on the device or brought down via an internet connection. For this, I have used Navigon or MotionX GPS Drive. GPS drive is the less expensive option letting you buy service for a month or pay $10 for a year. You can download maps to the device. You never need an internet connection since the maps are stored.

    The other option is to get the cellular version of the iPad. This gets you the GPS chip. Then if you store maps on the device, you can do nav just fine. You still have to get the app with the Maps. You can buy the cellular plan for the iPad...and turn it on/off when you need to travel and download maps on the fly, or just get a Nav app that provides maps to store on the device.

    Also, if you get the verizon LTE iPad, and a cellular plan for it, then it can serve as a hotspot...so you won't need the MIFI anymore....just let your devices hook up to wifi on the iPad. So you can do Nav (with proper selection of app) and connect laptops to the internet via the iPad's hotspot.

    I don't know what the Apple Store guy was saying. That all sounds rather bogus to me. Turn-by-turn is in Apple Maps, which came with iOS6, so that may be what he means. But you still need a way to get gps info. If Mifi will do that, great (this means it is either deriving location info from the cellular network or has its own GPS receiver inside)! If not, you need a gps receiver -- either an external one, or one built into the iPad.

    So, in short, find out what exactly the the MIFI does....if it has a GPS receiver and can pass that info to the iPad then you're golden. Look it up on the internet...there should be some good info someplace on it. Otherwise, pick another solution. The solution I use is to get the cellular enabled iPad. It makes the MIFI obsolete.

    Personally, I'd dump the mifi and get a full up cellular iPad and a shared plan (or whatever plan makes sense).
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
  10. AQ_OC

    AQ_OC Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I was looking around on the net and see that some MIFI devices do include a gps receiver. Here is an example:

    MiFi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Then it remains to ask if this gps info can be transfered to an iPad and used by a Nav app.
     
  11. The OB

    The OB Super Moderator Staff Member

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    1st part of Q: No the iPad will not provide turn by turn directions in Maps in a WiFi only iPad where the WiFi signal is present, but could PINPOINT the location on that map if there is sufficient triangulation within WiFi substations. ( as scifan above intimated, you would not even get that triangulation, hence no indication of position, if there were no WiFi stations within range. Crude example: the Sahara desert - I think
    2nd part of Q: You need the GPS chip in the iPad to provide turn by turn directions on ANY Map app.
    Regards, Andrew
    EDIT: As noted byAQ_OC above, the MiFi unit would obviously need to have GPS tracking ability, something I assumed they had, but apparently not.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
  12. Toeslider

    Toeslider iPF Noob

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    So bottom line is: without the GPS chip, the ipad has no way of tracking your location in Maps?

    I have become aware of all of the solutions posted above through my research, however I don't see anything that doesn't require me to lay out another $100-$150 cash to get a working solution with an ipad. That's frustrating, because $350 is already a lot to spend on a Christmas present, but would have been worth it if it worked. Almost every other family member they are in contact with has an ipad or iPhone within their family, so it would be nice that they could FaceTime on the road with everyone, plus they are close to 70, so it would be a big plus to be able to sit down next to them with my ipad and tutor them on how to do things, rather than get them something like a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 for $200 and not be able to answer their questions because I am not familiar with it. They already have the Mifi paid for and up and running, and they are happy with it, so it seems a shame to spend more money on something to replace it. I guess it's my fault for not realizing the GPS chip was absent from the wifi only iPads before I ordered it, I guess it just seemed like an elegant solution for them, had it worked.

    I guess I don't understand how, or if, a wifi ipad could get GPS data from another device that has GPS capability? Maybe it would still work if their Mifi can do that? I think they have a Jetpack, but I'm not positive.
     
  13. AQ_OC

    AQ_OC Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I feel your frustration.

    I had an iPad 2 wifi-only and used the GPS receiver with it. It worked great. Then I had an wifi-only iPad mini...used that same GPS receiver with it, it worked great. Decided to go 4G/LTE with the mini, so now it has the chip inside. Works great.

    Can you borrow the Jetpack, go to best buy, find a mini, hotspot it, and check? Just let them know you are trying to see if your gift will work as you hope it will. I think they will understand. You will need to get off the store wifi, hotspot to the jetpack, open maps to see if it has your location. Without moving about I'm not 100% confident you can be sure it is working, however.

    As I said in my post, some MIFI devices do have a GPS chip inside. I still don't know if that means they can be used to allow a iPad to do turn-by-turn based Nav.

    It is frustrating that we can't find an answer for you that you can be confident of.

    I do wish that Apple would change the way it does things and include the GPS chip in the wifi iPad, but that is an entirely different discussion.
     
  14. Abneriel

    Abneriel iPF Noob

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    Bottom line: what you're trying to do will not work with the wifi only version. The simplest alternative would be the cellular one, then there's nothing to set up and it'll work exactly as you want it.

    The ONLY other option that may work is the GPS Bluetooth add on another poster mentioned. I'm not familiar with it, and would recommend skipping that altogether and just getting the cellular version due to the simplicity and the ability to download the free Apple maps on the fly. Paying for an on board GPS and then paying for a Bluetooth add on seems to negate the cost savings (at least initially, not including future data purchases with the cellular mini) you're trying to give yourself by sticking with the wifi only version. If the setup was for you, sure, give it a shot if you'd like...just not sure the complexity is a great gift to someone over just picking up one unit (cellular version) that does everything you want for the same (or not much greater) cost that the more complicated setup.

    Other tethered devices will not provide their location to the iPad when tethered.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012
  15. Toeslider

    Toeslider iPF Noob

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    I understand why they don't offer it, what's frustrating to me is that I'm a semi tech-savvy guy, and I went through the entire ordering process without realizing the GPS isn't there. It's obvious on the Internet, now that I'm looking for it, but it wasn't obvious to me when going through the Apple site to order. Maybe I just missed it somewhere.

    There is enough distance between me an my parents that testing would be cumbersome, in fact it would cost me half the extra cash just to get to their place in gas money. Unfortunately I don't know anyone else who has a Mifi device nearby. What is surprising to me (or maybe not so much) is that I haven't found anyone on the Internet actually using a Mifi with a wifi ipad for turn by turn GPS. If it does work, you'd think people would be raving about it, so maybe that's another clue that it doesn't?

    I guess the best thing to do is wait and test it when the time comes. I will be sure to post my findings one way or the other.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012

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