What device (iPad) should I use with Canvas?

The Short Answer

A great trade-off for cost vs. experience and speediPad 6th Generation (starts at $329). 

Fastest, most premium experience: 10.5-inch iPad Pro (starts at $649).

Canvas also offers a Total Set-Up Package, which includes the iPad 6th Generation (32GB, Wi-Fi Only) for $799 — pre-assembled, pre-calibrated, and delivered scan-ready. If you are interested in the Total Set-Up Package, please email support@canvas.io.

Canvas is currently only compatible with the iPad. If you would like to be notified about support for other devices (including iPhone, Android, or Windows), please reach out to us at   support@canvas.io! We can't promise any immediate plans (as support for each new device requires totally new brackets, a very large amount of software changes, and additional support infrastructure), but knowing which devices are most in-demand helps us prioritize efforts to bring Canvas to them.

The Long Answer

Canvas is compatible with the following iPad models:

10.5-inch iPad Pro: Models A1701 and A1709 (A10X Processor)

iPad 6th Generation: Models A1893, A1823 (A10X Processor)

iPad 5th Generation: Models A1822 and A1823 (A9 Processor)

9.7-inch iPad Pro: Models A1673, A1674 or A1675 (A9X Processor)

12.9-inch iPad Pro: Models A1584 or A1652 (A9X Processor) for 1st Generation, 1670, or 1671 (A10X for 1670 or 1671) for 2nd Generation - *read below for note about portability* 

iPad Air 2: Models A1566 and A1567 (A8X Processor)

iPad mini 4: Models A1538 and A1550 (A8 Processor)

iPad Air (Models A1474, A1475, A1476) - *not recommended*

What about the new 11-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro (3rd gen) iPads?

Great question! We do work hard to support new iPads as quickly as possible, and we've supported every new release within a few months since the iPad 4th Generation (several years ago). This time, there's a new connector (USB-C), so adapting it will be more involved for us. 


The "right iPad" will be different depending on the use case, but the biggest factors to consider are RAM, storage, and portability.

RAM

This stands for "random-access memory," and it basically means "How much can your iPad do at once?" 3D scanning is a very memory-intensive process, so having sufficient RAM is important to ensure good iPad doesn't run out of RAM while scanning (if it does, your scan will be auto-saved, but it will take more scans to cover a given area).

Most iPads have 2GB of RAM, with the exception of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro (4GB of RAM), the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (4GB of RAM) and the iPad Air (1GB of RAM). 2GB of RAM will be able to handle most residential-sized rooms just fine, but if you want the very best, a 4GB-RAM model is a good option. We always recommend scanning on a room by room basis for the best, most accurate results, regardless of whether or not your iPad can technically scan more with more RAM. 

It is for this reason that we don't recommend buying the iPad Air for use with Canvas. With only 1GB of RAM, you may have trouble scanning full rooms in one scan, and as it is an older device the iPad itself will be slower. 

Storage:

Storage refers to the amount of data your iPad can hold at one time, and the options typically range from 16GB to 256GB. When using Canvas, it affects the number of scans or homes you can hold on the device at one time. 

While the total storage footprint for a home can be all over the place, in our experience the average typically ranges from 500MB to 2GB. Since the operating system usually takes up 8-11GB (according to Apple's website), that means that if you have only 16GB of storage, in the worst case you might have only 5GB available for Canvas, which may correspond to only a few homes. If you had a 256GB iPad, you would be able to store several hundred homes.

Generally speaking, this is rarely a practical concern for our customers, unless you are using the iPad for a lot of other photo, video, or audio file that also take up space, or scanning multiple full homes every day. If you're using Scan To CAD, the scans are emailed to you along with your CAD models, so most customers clear their iPad of a home after it goes through Scan To CAD (2 business days). If you are clearing your scans regularly after they go through Scan To CAD (or exporting via email or Airdrop if you are using them in other workflows), then you shouldn't have to worry much about storage unless you are scanning multiple full homes every day. We do recommend going for at least the 32GB models for convenience, but even with the 16GB you should have enough storage to scan a few homes, upload/export your scans for safe-keeping, and then delete them to make room for more. 

Many customers prefer to keep their scans on-device for the duration of a project. If this is the case, you may want to choose an iPad with more storage, so that you can hold more scans on your iPad at one time.

Portability:

If you're traveling from job site to job site, using Canvas multiple times per week or month, portability is also something to factor into your decision.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro models are very big devices, and this can make them fairly clunky to transport. Additionally, because the iPad is so large, we had to make a special adhesive bracket for Structure Sensor that sticks to the back of the iPad instead of our normal, latch-on precision bracket, meaning that taking Structure Sensor on and off is less convenient. You can see the difference on our accessories page

The iPad mini 4 is probably the easiest to transport, but in our experience, it's not a huge benefit vs. other models. 

Set-Up Ease:

NEW: Canvas now offers a Total Set-Up Package, which includes an iPad along with your Structure Sensor and comes pre-assembled, pre-calibrated, and scan-ready for $799. You basically skip to Step 4 in our Getting Started with Canvas guide.

The Total Set-Up Package is by far the fastest and easiest way to get up and running with Canvas, and it's a great option if you need an iPad anyway, but we're here to help every step of the way whether you buy the iPad from us or not. This option is currently only available for the iPad 6th Generation (32GB, Wi-Fi Only) for customers in the United States, and you can purchase one by emailing support@canvas.io.  

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to drop us a line at  support@canvas.io. Happy scanning!

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