Along from watching marine industry news and events, we also keep an eye on the mobile and tech landscape. For example, we have mentioned a few times, here and here, about the importance cross over products are already having in the marine industry. Mad Mariner (a great news source if you don't already follow them), has a quick review of using the iPad while out on the water.
Having said that, the iPad is not “must have” technology, and it will invariably raise questions about how many devices you need (and what each of them will do). Like all marine equipment, the value of the iPad will depend on its user, governed by factors such where you take your boat, the type of equipment you own already and how much you depend on a computer to run your life.
The BBC is reporting a lost vessel was able to be found the other day thanks to an iPhone app as well.
With no flares, flash lights or VHF radio onboard, the Wee Rascal was unable to signal its position to rescuers.
It was then that the Belfast Coastguard resorted to mobile phone technology a locator iPhone app was able to give rescuers the vital latitude and longitude they needed.
What does all of this mean? In the short term, the iPad will probably not be replacing typical electronics en masse (and we are still rooting for Android devices!). What the application of smartphones and tablets being used in this manner does suggest is how powerful gadgets can become when they are not bound to doing one specific action (only GPS, or only being a radio). These multi use devices also signal simplicity and function often go hand in hand. Akin to Volvo's IPS technology, anything which makes boating easier is an easy sell.
To push even further, imagine yacht designers and builders having to dedicate less and less room to dedicated controls and displays. Perhaps a sleek display/control panel which is easily concealed, a remote control for the entire boat which can be run from the crew quarters. Maybe some bluetooth devices which mimic phyical controls, essential allowing you to have a mobile helm station! Far off? Perhaps, but these ideas are less far fetched than ever.