Does the iPad Have a Gyroscope?

by Rebecca Mecomber

Apple released its first iPad tablet in 2010 amid much fanfare. The tablet featured a slew of intuitive gestures and included the ability to adjust the screen orientation by tilting it. Gamers especially liked the flexibility and have filled the Apps Store with thousands of games that take advantage of the iPad's exceptional resolution and screen variability. As Apple has developed additional iPad models, the company has improved upon the technology.

The First iPad

The first iPad model did not contain a gyroscope. Instead, it used an accelerometer. This tiny device detects the iPad's motion and adjusts the screen accordingly. This technology is also used to record motion such as walking or running and is utilized in certain fitness pedometer apps for the iPhone and iPod devices.

Difference Between Accelerometer and Gyroscope

An accelerometer measures the motion or orientation of an object while a gyroscope detects the angle, speed and motion of the object. In an iPad, the information from both the accelerometer and gyroscope are combined in a process known as sensor fusion. Sensor fusion enables the iPad software to detect motion and other sensory data quickly and accurately.

Later Models

Beginning with the iPad 2, all iPad models contain an accelerometer and a three-axis gyroscope. This technology greatly improves the device's ability to sense motion, tilt, speed and the angle of the tablet. When the iPad 2 was first released, there were few apps to take advantage of the technology, but app developers have now created games, navigational software and other apps that make use of the iPad's gyroscope technology.

About the Author

Rebecca Mecomber, a former radio broadcaster, has been a professional blogger and writer since 2006. Her articles and interviews have appeared in "The Wall Street Journal," Salon.com and several other publications, covering topics such as Federal Trade Commission policy and media regulations, blogging, home improvement and New York travel.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images