Apple's new iPad was roundly cheered by the tech press when the device arrived, but in the week or so since, most have experienced some interesting and less than positive issues. It's still "resolutionary." But was the new iPad rushed to market?
It's always interesting to me how things can look a bit different in the cold, hard light of the next morning. You're all excited, this new toy we just spent the month's mortgage on is going to change your life, and then ... Bam! It runs too hot. The apps and movies take up too much of the already confined storage space. The 4G data plan gets eaten up in just two days. Or the battery isn't actually charged all the way even though it says it's at a 100 percent charge.
All these things and more have happened in the week or since Apple delivered its new iPad. And you know what? It just doesn't matter.
First, the issues.
Heat. To be comfortable on your lap, a computing device needs to run at 95 degrees or less, according to Laptop Magazine. But the new iPad can run as hot as 116 degrees, says tests conducted by Consumer Reports. But don't worry, folks: CR still loves the new iPad. The question I have is whether this heat will have any long-term effects on the device. Good thing you'll be upgrading next year regardless.
I've not experienced this and given my lack of heavy app/game usage, I hope to never experience it.
Space issues. With its 2048 x 1536 screen, the new iPad can display better-than-HD quality games and apps and 1080p HD movies. Too bad that stuff takes up a ton of space, however, since Apple never raised the storage allotments of the new iPad, which remain at 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. And Apple is making you pay through the nose for those upper-end devices, as Business Week notes in its review.
"In the past, I've recommended most iPad buyers get the cheapest version, with 16 gigabytes of memory," Peter Svensson writes. "The 32-gigabyte version might be the better buy this time around. It galls me, though, that this model costs $100 more, for an additional memory chip that costs Apple about $17."
I'd add to this that 60 minutes of 1080p HD video--like an episode of "Game of Thrones"--eats up 2GB of space. That means a typical HD movie will run about 3.5 to 4.2 GB. Yikes!
The iPad simply needs more storage. I'm surprised Apple didn't bump up the storage allotments to 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB, frankly.
Fast data, if you can access LTE, but it doesn't last. The new iPad sports a true 4G/LTE antenna. But new iPad owners are discovering this doesn't last as long as the 3G connections used to. So did USA Today's Ed Baig, who wrote about this issue in a column this week. "Less than 24 hours after purchasing the Verizon Wireless version of the iPad + 4G--and choosing a $30, 2GB monthly data plan from Verizon--I was shocked by the notification on my iPad's screen: There is no data remaining on your current plan." Ed's crime? He foolishly downloaded his collection of iPad apps from iCloud over 4G. At least it happened quickly.
I'm not sure what to say about this one. I have a 4G unit but haven't left the house with it yet. So I'll test the cellular stuff when I can, on the road. But I expect to use Wi-Fi for the most part when I can. But then...
Weak Wi-Fi. A lot of users are reporting that the Wi-Fi signal strength is weak on the new iPad, and that's interesting to me because that was another issue I was wondering about. It does seem weaker to me in the house as well.
Battery charging. This one is cute and can, I suspect, be fixed in a software update: When the new iPad charges, it reports that it's 100 percent done charging about an hour before it's really done charging. So you may unplug it thinking you're good to go, only to discover later that the charge wasn't complete. Oops.
But that's not the only issue. Because of the new iPad's beefier power requirements, it actually doesn't charge at all, or will do so very slowly, under certain conditions even when it's plugged in.
I've experienced a different battery life issue. That is, this thing needs to be charged a lot more than the previous version. I don't use the iPad heavily--mostly for reading and some light browsing/email--but I'm surprised how frequently the charge has been much lower when compared to the iPad 2, even after this short time period. I'll be looking at this closely when I use it on my next trip, but it's pretty clear that the magical battery life I experienced with the iPad 2, while still very, very good on the new unit, seems a lot more mortal.
That's a lot of stuff. It almost makes you wonder why the folks who got the device early didn't notice these issues, or just one or two of them.
The bigger issue, of course, is whether any of this matters. After all, the iPhone 4 suffered from some endemic hardware issues that were impossible, in some cases, to overcome without multiple hardware revisions. (And people bought that device in droves.) Do any of these issues doom the new iPad to the same fate of unreliability?
With the exception of the heat problem, whose long-term effects will remain a mystery until time has passed, I don't think so. The central point here is that the new iPad is so far ahead of the so-called competition in the areas that matter that few of these issues will register at all, and most certainly won't matter to the people who will buy it regardless.
Still. That's a pretty long list.