Apple iPad: the world’s biggest satnav
I had lunch with satnav software makers CoPilot the other day – and no, it wasn’t in a roadside café. One of the more surprising revelations was that the company had just begun offering an iPad version of its software in the US; the most surprising revelation was that it was selling like hot cakes.
Using the 9.7in iPad screen as a satnav struck me as potentially reckless. With that A4-sized device mounted on your windscreen, you’re going to be blocking out a sizeable chunk of your field of vision. It’s more than double the size of TomTom’s biggest device, the Go 950.
Can sticking such a hefty device in your windscreen be legal? The law is decidedly vague when it comes to in-car technology. The Highway Code warns of the “danger of driver distraction being caused by in-vehicle systems such as satellite navigation systems, congestion warning systems, PCs, multi-media, etc.” and states that “You MUST exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times.”
Nevertheless, it appears there are no hard and fast rules about the size of screen you can use; it’s seemingly at the police’s discretion to decide if you’re driving without due care and attention.
So how do you mount the enormous iPad on your dashboard? It seems several different mounts are already available, such as this Air Vent Mount sold on Amazon US. Certainly, I’d be nervous of entrusting my £500 iPad to a windscreen sucker mount, which in my experience tend to wear out within a year or so, as the rubber becomes less and less supple.
But by placing the mount in the car vents, the driver would have to take their eye off the road to glance down at the screen, making it inherently more dangerous, in my opinion.
CoPilot’s marketing director David Quin predicted the iPad satnav could catch on with lorry drivers, who naturally have more windscreen real estate to play with and often already carry hefty terminals. But I’m intrigued to know: would you use an iPad as a satnav in your car? Let me know why (or why not) on comments below.