Nine...we have two identical iPad 2s. One I bought several years ago and kept after I upgraded and the other I recently purchased off eBay for around $200 as a backup. So, the cost is definitely attractive. Maybe you hang on to your Raymarine for now, then try the iPad route if you're interested by starting off with an older cheaper iPad (make sure it's cell/data enabled to get the GPS). If nothing else, like these guys have said, it's a great low-cost/high-capability backup for your current Raymarine. Then if the Raymarine goes, you can make your decision on what's next.Hey Smack, I'm kind of on the fence with this, or a least looking at the fence. I have a Raymarine chartplotter that is acting up a bit, but like anything that comes with $1000 price tag...it's hard to let go.
Two questions involving the touch screen:
1: What do you do if you are wearing gloves?
2: if the protective cover gets wet, does the touch screen still work?
As to your questions...
1. For kicks I just tried it with a couple of different gloves - a winter-type glove and a latex glove. It did work fine with the latex glove - but did not work at all with the winter glove. So I guess it depends. Why is that? No idea. So, if you're wearing heavier gloves, I guess you take the glove off, position things the way you want them, and put the glove back on.
2. We encountered several heavy squalls and thunderstorms while offshore on our trip. So lots of rain and the iPad definitely got wet. If the screen is really wet and your hands are really wet, the scroll/pan/pinch-zoom features don't work well. But simply wiping things off with a paper towel fixes this. And it was only an issue in the heaviest of conditions we faced.
I think the real question is how much you have the need to continually pan and zoom while underway? I mostly found myself needing to swipe for the instrument bar at the top of the screen and to touch an AIS target for info. The touch features work fine when wet and iNavX also has buttons for zooming (instead of having to use the pinch-zoom) so you can still use it as normal. And since, like other plotters, you can set the screen to always center on your position (north up or heads up), zoom is what you'll use most anyway. I mostly panned when planning the route, not nearly as much while underway.
So, I just didn't run into any real problems with this. It's certainly there as a potential irritant, but is easily addressed and rarely a problem in the first place unless you're in a continually wet, open environment.
Also, keep in mind that our current LifeProof Nuud case has no protective cover over the screen (unlike the Lifedge case we used to use which I didn't like).
Hope that helps.