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It’s finally here! Apple releases new iPad Mini

We talk to iPad pilots daily at our airport and online through iPad Pilot News, and the number one question we get is “when will Apple upgrade the iPad mini?” The smaller 7.9″ iPad works exceptionally well in the cockpit, balancing the right combination of size and price, but it hadn’t been updated since April 2015 and was lacking in hardware performance. In our most recent poll over 58% of pilots responded they would upgrade to a new iPad Mini if it became available, with only 21% looking for an iPad Pro.

Today we learned that the rumors were true, as Apple unveiled the new 5th generation iPad Mini and a new 10.5″ iPad Air. The new Mini 5 is identical in size to previous models, but includes Apple’s powerful A12 bionic processor, the same chip used in the latest iPhone XS and XR models. You can order the new model starting today and get it delivered next week. Here we’ll review what all is new with the Mini 5, along with the new iPad Air, to help decide which model is best for your next upgrade.

iPad Mini 5

Pilots have been asking for a new iPad Mini for years and fortunately, Apple responded to the consumer demand and released an all-new version. On the outside, the iPad Mini 5 is identical to the iPad Mini 4, which many pilots will welcome since you’ll be able to use existing mounts and kneeboards without any compromise. The most important update is the new A12 bionic processor (the Mini 4 was still using the old A8 processor), which will provide a lightning-fast user experience while running graphics-intensive processes, like loading in-flight moving maps or datalink weather.

The storage options were doubled in size for the iPad Mini 5 to 64GB and 256GB, which will also be a welcome upgrade for pilots running low on the limited storage options of the iPad Mini 4. The retina screen was upgraded to be 25% brighter, includes the useful anti-reflective screen coating and Apple’s true tone technology. The rear camera was also upgraded from 720p to full 1080p HD recording capability. It adds support for the original Apple Pencil – the newer 2nd Gen Apple Pencil only works with iPad Pro.

Best of all the new iPad Mini 5 retains the same affordable price of $399 for the 64GB model, but we’d highly recommend paying the extra $150 and upgrading to the 256GB to ensure you have plenty of space down the road for all your apps, aviation databases, and media. The Mini 5 retains the same Lightning charging port and TouchID for authentication. Like with other iPads, you can upgrade to the model with Cellular data for an extra $130, which also adds an internal GPS. Learn more about the internal GPS vs. external receivers here.

iPad Air 10.5″

The new iPad Air 10.5″ essentially replaces the iPad Pro 10.5″ that hit the market a few years ago, but includes the faster A12 bionic processor. It’s the exact same size as the former 10.5″ iPad Pro, so all the same kneeboards and mounts will work with the upgraded model. It retains the familiar Lightning port for charging and TouchID.

Most importantly Apple dropped the price on this product down to $499 (the iPad Pro 10.5″ was $649), so it’s now in the sweet spot for pilots looking for a full-size iPad with high-performance internals, without the need to spend over $800 for an iPad Pro.

The 2019 iPad lineup in review

The plus side of today’s announcement is that pilots have never had a more diverse range of iPad models to choose from, with a fully capable version starting at just $329. The downside of all these options is that it can become a little confusing when sorting through the offerings, especially when it comes to accessory support. Apple recently dropped the 10.5″ iPad Pro, so there are now 4 iPad product lines to choose from:

New iPad Mini 5: A12 bionic processor, 64GB ($399) and 256GB ($599), upgrade to Cellular data for $130, 7.9″ retina display, lightning charging port, Touch ID, supports Apple Pencil 1

iPad: A10 processor, 32GB ($329) and 128GB ($429), upgrade to Cellular data for $130, 9.7″ retina display, lightning charging port, Touch ID, 1080p HD camera, supports Apple Pencil 1

New iPad Air 10.5″: A12 bionic processor, 64GB ($499) and 256GB ($649), upgrade to Cellular data for $130, 9.7″ retina display, lightning charging port, Touch ID, 1080p HD camera, supports Apple Pencil 1

iPad Pro 11 and 12.9″: A12X bionic processor, 64/256/512GB/1TB starting at $799, upgrade to Cellular data for $149, USB-C charging port, Face ID, 4K video camera, supports Apple Pencil 2

As we mentioned earlier, we think the new iPad Air model is the perfect choice for pilots who prefer a full-size screen over the iPad Mini, without breaking the bank for the higher-performance iPad Pro models. It includes the larger 10.5″ screen found on the original iPad Pro and Apple’s latest A12 processor and starts out at the same price as the original iPad from 2010 – $499. The premium iPad Pro remains a great fit in the cockpit too and offers the most performance and features in the lineup – read our review of that model here.

You can order both the new iPad Mini 5 and iPad Air 10.5″ models today and they’ll be shipping out next week. We’ll have a full PIREP on both versions next week, including compatibility with kneeboards and mounting options.

Lastly, we’ll point out that Apple has a trade-in program, so you may be able to save some money on your upgrade by sending in your old device.

The post It’s finally here! Apple releases new iPad Mini appeared first on iPad Pilot News.

Source: Ipad appsIt’s finally here! Apple releases new iPad Mini

Robust Mounting Systems – a simple, affordable new mount option

Suction cup iPad mount

Still searching the perfect mount for your phone or iPad that won’t break the bank? A good mounting system normally costs anywhere from $60 to over $200. Fortunately, a new option is now available with some good-performing mounts starting around $30 for a complete kit. 

The new Robust Mounting Systems take a universal approach to mounting. There are two main mounting cradles: one fits almost every phone, the other will fit every tablet. Each cradle can be matched up to an arm and suction cup. The whole system uses a 25mm or 1” ball to connect the pieces. This makes the Robust Mounts interchangeable with other popular 1” ball mounting systems, like RAM Mounts.

Mobile Grip Phone Mount

Smartphone mount
The phone cradle expands to hold virtually any smartphone.

This simple, expandable cradle fits every phone we’ve tried, from smaller iPhone SE models to the largest iPhone XS Max. The holder consists of two fingers that grab the phone in the middle. This is important as mounts that try to grip near the corners can hit volume or power buttons, or block one of the cameras. The two finger approach is small yet firm, and very easy to operate with one hand. One finger doesn’t move, while the other finger is on a spring mechanism.

The rear of the mount has a socket for mounting to a 17mm ball.  This extra ball in the mounting system allows you to easily adjust the angle of your phone while the rest of the mount remains unchanged. We really like this feature as small adjustments for sunlight will happen en route.

The side of the mount has a ¼”-20 hole. This allows you to use other mounts (especially camera mounts), but more importantly, the hole is filled by a custom designed plug. This plug has a cable holder on it, allowing you to keep your charging cable attached to the mount. This is really helpful, especially at night.

Slim iPad/Tablet Mount

It is not often that you find a universal mount that works as well as a custom-fitting mount, but this mount breaks the mold. It includes ten fingers (three sizes) that allow you to customize for your mounting situation. Some pilots prefer a horizontal mount with a vertically oriented iPad; others like both pieces to be vertical. Regardless of your preference, this mounting solution can adapt to fit. It will even work with most cases. The spring mechanism provides more than enough tension to keep your iPad in place during turbulence, but yet isn’t too strong to require hard work to open. We tried it in a Cirrus on a gusty day, and it held our iPad 9.7″ model without any issues.

Suction cup iPad mount
The suction cup mount held our iPad on a gusty day.

The back of the mount has an AMPS pattern for attaching to the included adapter. While the cradle is a little bulky in size, the mount is relatively lightweight and easy to stow. It takes about the same amount of space in your flight bag as a backup headset. With a few minutes of customization the first time you use it, it’s a simple and reliable product.


The middle of these mounts features an infinitely adjustable arm. Different sizes are available to help extend your device away from the mounting surface. This is very similar to other mounting systems and it’s likely you have a few extra of these arms laying around. Keep in mind that the longer the arm, the more likely you are to have some vibration in the mounting system. We prefer sticking to a short arm. This also makes the mount easier to stow when not in use.

Suction Cup

The Robust Mount suction cup might be the best we’ve seen yet. A simple cam mechanism engages the suction cup. It’s relatively easy to keep clean, and its design gets the least amount of air trapped in the cup. This is essential to keeping the cup on the window during climb-out. Less air trapped means less air to expand. Physics tells us that all suction cups will fail at some point. The design of the suction cup housing is very intuitive. Once engaged, the suction cup is flush with the lip of the hard plastic. With no room between the two, vibrations are kept to a minimum.

Universal suction
With multiple tabs, the tablet kit can accommodate almost any model.

Future Proof

The universal nature of the Robust Mounts means you won’t have to buy a new mount the next time you update your phone or tablet. In other mounting systems, even something as simple as buying a new case can result in you having to purchase a new mount. More mounting options will be available in the near future, including a yoke/tube mounting solution. With a multitude of options, there is sure to be one that will fit your application.  


While super functional and extremely durable, you won’t have to spend an arm and a leg to buy one of these systems. Individual pieces start at under $10 and complete kits start at around $30. The Tablet Suction Cup Mount is available for $39.95 and the Phone Suction Cup Mount is available for $29.95.

We flew with these mounts in a Cirrus SR22, a Cessna 172, and a Robinson R44 helicopter. Overall they were a pleasant surprise – well-made, easy to use, and affordable. In fact, we haven’t had a suction cup fail yet.

The post Robust Mounting Systems – a simple, affordable new mount option appeared first on iPad Pilot News.

Source: Ipad appsRobust Mounting Systems – a simple, affordable new mount option

FAA Statement on Boeing 737 Max

3/12/19 6:15pm Update

The FAA continues to review extensively all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the Boeing 737 MAX.Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft. Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action. In the course of our urgent review of data on the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash, if any issues affecting the continued airworthiness of the aircraft are identified, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action.

3/11/19 6:00pm Update

The FAA has issued a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) related to the Boeing 737-8 and Boeing 737-9 (737 MAX) fleet.

3/11/19 3:15pm Update

An FAA team is on-site with the NTSB in its investigation of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.We are collecting data and keeping in contact with international civil aviation authorities as information becomes available.Today, the FAA will issue a Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) for Boeing 737 MAX operators. The FAA continuously assesses and oversees the safety performance of U.S. commercial aircraft. If we identify an issue that affects safety, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action.

Source: FAAFAA Statement on Boeing 737 Max