The above video comes courtesy of dhallpolo, and is the first practical application of the iPad as an EFB: using NACOmatic to create PDF downloads of approach plates and facility directories. Of course, I can't wait to get my hands on one to test.
I've been reluctant over the past few months to make any comments regarding the iPad. As an EFB integrator and application developer, I can see both the opportunities and challenges in making the iPad a viable EFB platform. Simple solutions like using NACOmatic and an iPod/iPad PDF reader are a great place for end-users to start, but it may be a few months before "mainstream" EFB application developers begin developing for the iPad.
The problem is that EFB development is still Microsoft world: most general and business aviation applications today are developed using Microsoft's .Net platform or C++ with Win32 platform extensions. Some developers, like Jeppesen, have been successful in writing C++ code libraries that other programmers can use on Windows and Linux platforms. While some EFB application developers use Java to maintain cross-platform compatibility, these applications usually take a performance hit across platforms because Java applications run in a "virtual machine" on top of the host operating system. The Java virtual machine acts as an additional stumbling block between the application and the underlying system resources, so it can be difficult to achieve the same level of performance on graphic-intensive, georeferenced applications common on EFBs.
Of course, iPod, iPhone, and iPad development throws another wrinkle into the mix. Like Microsfoft's .Net platform (which actually encompasses a few closely related programming languages), Apple has developed Xcode, a derivitive of C. Also, there is a special set of developer tools, the iPad SDK (Software Development Kit), that provides a specialized set of programming libraries and techniques for developing iPad-specific applications.… Read more ...