Apple iPad: Does it have 'real' GPS? (updated: yes and no)

There's a debate that's raging over the "Assisted GPS" (A-GPS) features that's included in the iPad. It's unclear as to whether the iPad includes a dedicated GPS chip or whether it's using Assisted GPS to simulate "real" GPS.

There's a debate that's raging over the "Assisted GPS" (A-GPS) features that's included in the iPad. It's unclear as to whether the iPad includes a dedicated GPS chip or whether it's using Assisted GPS to simulate "real" GPS. Or something else completely

Here's how Wikipedia describes A-GPS, for context:

Conventional or "standalone" GPS operation uses radio signals from satellites. In very poor signal conditions, for example in a city, these signals may suffer multipath where signals bounce confusingly off buildings, or be weakened by passing through walls or tree cover... An A-GPS system can address these problems in several ways, using an assistance server or other data from a network.

The iPad tech specs clearly list (under Location):

Assisted GPS (Wi-Fi + 3G model)

Update: Looking closer at the "Wireless and cellular" category in Apple's iPad tech specs. "Wi-Fi model" is one configuration and "Wi-Fi + 3G model" is the other. From the Location section it could be interpreted that Assisted GPS is included in the Wi-Fi and 3G models (meaning both) but Apple actually uses the plus-sign in "Wi-Fi + 3G model" to mean the high-end, 3G model). Apple's marketing took some liberties with the plus-sign. So, to clarify, the 3G model has GPS and the Wi-Fi model doesn't have GPS.

http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/FCKEditorFiles//gallery-software-maps-20100127.jpg

So... is it a dedicated GPS chip, a combined chip (i.e. part of Apple's A4 or 3G chips) or is it using A-GPS as pseudo-GPS?

Interestingly enough, the tech specs for the iPhone 3GS (first column, also under Location) also list it as having "Assisted GPS."

Put another way: does the iPad ship with the same GPS functionality as the the iPhone 3GS?

The iPad tech specs clearly states that A-GPS is available on both the Wi-Fi and the 3G iPads, pretty much nullifying the argument that GPS is somehow included in the 3G chip. Although its conceivable that Apple could add extra GPS-specific silicon to the WiFi model, but it seems unlikely.

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