While the aviation world was panicking about the coming ADS-B mandate, companies in the iPad app and accessory business stayed quite busy in 2019. There were major new hardware introductions and noteworthy mergers, and we covered it all at iPad Pilot News with over 120 articles. Here are some trends we tracked, and some of our most popular articles.
Finally—a new iPad Mini!
After many years of being ignored, the iPad Mini finally got its day in the sun. The smaller size tablet isn’t the hot seller it once was for Apple, but it’s ideal for cockpit use and pilots welcomed the Mini 5 with open arms. 2019 also brought updated 10″ iPad models and an entirely new operating system that finally split the iPad off from the iPhone. As it approaches its 10th birthday, the iPad is growing up.
In 2017, ForeFlight and Jeppesen partnered on data and software development, then in 2018 Garmin bought Fltplan.com to take a run at professional pilots. The consolidation trend continued in 2019, with Garmin integrating Fltplan Go more deeply and Appareo joining the party by buying Aerovie. But the biggest news of the year was in March, when Boeing announced it was buying ForeFlight.
ForeFlight grows up and down
Some pilots worried that Boeing’s acquisition of ForeFlight would slow development, but so far, that hasn’t proven to be the case. The company kept up its blistering pace of software releases, including a major expansion of its Performance Plus subscription level, a new Passenger app, and even an airline app in partnership with Jeppesen.
Training stays hot
With airlines hiring thousands of pilots every year, flight training is booming in the United States. That means busy flight schools and new airplane purchases from Piper and Cessna, but it also means lots of new training tools for the iPad. This year saw the introduction of a number of helpful apps, from video courses to interactive communication trainers to post-flight review tools.
Helpful accessories keep appearing
One of our favorite segments to track is the accessory market. Every year, a number of companies find ways to augment the iPad and make it more useful in the cockpit. In 2019, we covered new battery packs, a new ADS-B receiver, new kneeboards, and even a pulse oximeter that can connect to your mobile device. It’s not as exciting as a brand new app, but there is a lot of innovation here.