magnetic interference?

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories' started by John Paul, May 18, 2010.

  1. John Paul macrumors member

    May 10, 2010
    Washington DC
    I have seen one (but only one) report so far of someone who had a 3G iPad in a case with a magnetic closure reporting that the magnets interfered with the compass inside the iPad. I have two questions regarding this...

    1. Has anyone else tested whether this is true, and either confirmed (or refuted) that this is the case?

    2. What exactly is the implication if the compass is messed up. Does that mean the entire process of 3G GPS location is screwed up? If not, then who cares....does any functionality of the machine at all really depend upon a working internal compass?

    I guess I'm just confused about whether this is anything I should be worrying about. The report I read about it was in the context of a review of the Marware Eco-Vue case, which is exactly the one I am strongly considering purchasing.

    TIA for any help...
  2. jtara macrumors 65816

    Mar 23, 2009
    Easy enough to test - download one of the "magnetometer" apps available in the app store. I happen to have one - called - surprise, surprise - "MagnetMeter". (It's a cool demo app.) I don't have any little magnets around the house, but I did test it with a little Creative computer speaker (the little 3" squares) and I can spin the needle completely around by hovering the speaker a few inches over the iPad.

    Obviously is not an issue if the iPad is stored in the case. But, of course, could be an issue if you are actually using the iPad at the time.

    The magnetometer tells the iPad what direction it is pointing in. So, it will effect any app that depends on what direction you are pointing it in. Since there is no camera on the iPad, this is less of an issue than on the iPhone, at least for now. No "augmented reality" apps for iPad.

    For navigation, it would depend on how the particular application uses the magnetometer. Knowing the heading can provide improved accuracy, smoother map rotation, etc. Wildly incorrect results could potentially cause some software to malfunction or even crash, as it would provide unexpected results that the app author may or may not have anticipated.
  3. John Paul thread starter macrumors member

    May 10, 2010
    Washington DC
    Thanks. Went ahead and bought the case, it doesn't sound like it should be an issue too often for me and in the rare circumstances when it is, I can always take it out of the case.
  4. SchneiderMan macrumors G3


    May 25, 2008
    The iPad has a compass inside? I thought only the iPhone did.
  5. Hammie macrumors 65816


    Mar 17, 2009
    Wash, DC Metro
    Yeah, I had to check my iPad to make certain I did not miss it. :)

    BTW, I downloaded a free compass thing from the app store and checked it. a small, weak magnet was able to affect the results.

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