Service Ending March 31, 2016

01 FEB 2016

Beginning this week, we are winding down the Reader Plates service and will cease providing updates and support in two months on March 31, 2016.

When we started Reader Plates in 2008, there were hardly any options for conveniently carrying digital charts and plates in the cockpit. Multiple advancements, such as e-book readers, cloud computing & high-speed internet, had just made a service such as Reader Plates viable. After AOPA Pilot ran an article by Ian Twombly about the service, it became apparent that many of you were ready for a more convenient option to carrying approach plates. Back then, laptops or the new e-ink book readers were it. The iPhone didn’t have an App Store. The iPad was barely a rumor. And everyone was throwing around the acronym “EFB”-- does anyone even remember what that stood for?

Fast forward to today-- iPads are ubiquitous and you have many options when it comes to apps. And oh the features! Plates, charts, geo-referenced plates on charts, weather, TFRs, flight planning, weight & balance, briefings, filing flight plans, EAPIS, log books, maintenance history, flight tracking— you name it and it’s probably available in an app somewhere. There’s never been a better time to go shopping.

With all these options available and e-book readers dying, there’s less demand than ever for Reader Plates. We’re also facing some major changes in underlying services the business depends upon in 2016. Addressing these changes would simply require more investment than the business can provide. Just as confluence of advancements helped create Reader Plates in 2008, another is signaling the end of its time in 2016.

It’s been a pleasure emailing, speaking, and meeting with many of you. As I write this, I am still most reluctant to actually pull the plug. I realize this will force the small number of you still using the service to make changes over the next couple months. Again though, you have many great options to choose from— almost all are better than our app in some respect, and some are even free.

Here is our timetable for the next two months:

  • February 4, 2016: We will cease accepting new subscriptions, and remove the Reader Plates app for iPad from the App Store. Remaining subscribers can continue to use the app on their iPads, and download to readers. Cycle 1602, which is already available for download, becomes effective.
  • February 25, 2016: The last update (Cycle 1603) will be available for download to the remaining subscribers.
  • March 1, 2016: All subscription renewals will be cancelled. However, subscribers that had current subscriptions as of February 29, 2016 will continue to have access to downloads and weather until March 31, 2016.
  • March 3, 2016: The last update (Cycle 1603) becomes effective.
  • March 31, 2016: The last update (Cycle 1603) expires. The Reader Plates download servers and weather servers will be shut down. Discontinue the use of the iPad app and/or any previously downloaded charts, plates, info, etc. That’s all folks.

To those who were among our very first customers— thank you for taking a chance on us back then. And thank you all for your business over the past seven years.

—John Lemberger Founder of Reader Plates