The iPad and iPad 2 don’t come with a GPS receiver if you have the Wi-Fi versions. I have a Wi-Fi iPad 2 and have longed for the ability to use the larger format maps on apps like Navigon while traveling. There have been some solutions if you jailbreak, but that’s not something I want to do.
Now there’s a solution from New Sky Products, which is offering a small (2.25″ x 2.25″ x 0.75″) unit that will pair with your iPad or iPod touch and give you the navigation functionality you crave. The device is US$99.99 and can run off an included car charger, or it will work for more than 8 hours using its rechargeable battery. Of course any map that needs data connectivity (like Google Maps) won’t work, but if the app you have has on-board maps you’re in business. Maps like the Navigon, TomTom and Magellan apps should work nicely. Note that any functions of those apps that require a data connection, like Google searches, won’t work without Wi-Fi.
There is also a free app that will show you the status of the Bluetooth GPS device, including the number of satellites you are seeing, your latitude and longitude, altitude and battery status. There are quite a few threads on the Apple support boards complaining about the inability of older portable GPS units to link to the iPad, and in fact I tried it myself without success. That makes this new unit extra welcome if it works as advertised. We’re being sent a unit to review, and as soon as I get it I’ll pair it to my Wi-Fi iPad 2 and report here on the results.