[aprssig] APRS for IPad

Heikki Hannikainen hessu at hes.iki.fi
Fri Jun 14 11:00:09 CDT 2013

> On 6/12/2013 3:03 PM, Jason KG4WSV wrote:
>> Apple's aggressive protection of their ecosystem (specifically Made
>> For iWhatever, aka MFI) makes it very difficult to connect an iDevice
>> to a TNC (or GPS or whatever).  By the time you pay licensing fees,
>> etc, a simple adapter between a 3.3V TTL serial port on the 30 pin
>> iPhone connector to a RS232/DB9 connector costs $70.

At DCC last year Jeremy NH6Z had an iPad running his SDR software. It
attached to the radio over WiFi. WiFi chips and USB sticks are cheap.


I'd guess it'd be possible to put together a ~$100 class TNC / radio
interface kit with a Raspberry Pi-type Linux board ($25 for model A,
single USB) + WiFi ($20 USB stick?) + TNC-Pi
(http://www.tnc-x.com/TNCPi.htm $40) + preconfigured Linux on a small
flash card. That could make the TNC available to any WiFi client on
the same network, or act as an access point in a mobile setup.

Legacy serial ports might be hard, but current consumer standards (IP
over WiFi) should be doable. We'll just have to upgrade our legacy
stuff to talk to modern consumer hardware. That'd help with Android,
PCs and other things, too.

That's already being done by many new TNCs and trackers having USB,
and some even having Bluetooth.

On Fri, Jun 14, 2013 at 4:06 PM, Stephen H. Smith <wa8lmf2 at aol.com> wrote:
> Even if you want to give the application away for FREE to end users, it
> costs the developer thousands of dollars in charges for specialized
> development tools, yearly charges for access to the Apple Store, etc.

I already have a macbook, and an iphone, and so do all the users that
would be in the audience of such an app. I guess we can agree that
those are not specialized development tools - they're shiny consumer
gadgets for regular people.

The development software (Xcode) is a free download:

To get the code signed running on a real iOS device you'll have to pay
$99 a year to join the developer program, which certainly is very very
annoying in principle ("what? i have to pay them to have *my* software
running on *my* hardware??"), but it's not "thousands of dollars".
That also gets you the right to submit apps in the app store (which
doesn't cost extra).

And then there's the 30% Apple Tax for non-free app sales (certainly a
big cut - if that becomes "thousands", your APRS app is selling very
well indeed :).

>  And
> that's after you pay to submit the app to Apple for approval before it goes
> live in the store, with no certainty that it will be approved.

Looking at the *very* low quality of many apps I've tried from the app
store, it seems certain that a somewhat working APRS app would get
approved these days.

> Charges like these are not too significant for mainstream consumer or
> business apps that will sell a significant number of copies, but are a MAJOR
> obstacle to low-budget part-time hobbyist-type developers in a niche field
> like APRS.

I'd call them a minor obstacle, honestly. The major obstacle is the
time and effort it takes to produce a quality application in a niche
field like APRS (on any platform). The time is worth much more than
$99 a year. I mean, it costs me about $120 USD to fill up the car's
diesel tank once (it's a bit expensive over here).

Android is cheaper to get on, and it's more open in many respects, no
doubt about that.

- Hessu, OH7LZB

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