Wimpy Wi-Fi on the new iPad?

So a few days ago, Judy posted her take on the potential Heatgate storm brewing around the new iPad. In her post, she references an article by Consumer Reports finding that, in their testing conditions, the new iPad ran 12 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than its predecessor. That Consumer Reports story continues to explain that, while playing a game with the iPad plugged in to the wall, it reached a staggering 116 degrees!! That’s hot! Here’s the thermal imaging pictures they included:

But it seems that the new iPad may be on the hot seat for more than just it’s overheating issues. There is a thread over on the Apple Support Forums that is seeing a lot of activity this week from users coming to complain about, and find solutions for, potential Wi-fi range, speed, and connectivity issues with the newly released iPad. Scrolling through the pages, you’ll see comments from about 100 people who are claiming to have significant problems with their new iPad’s wi-fi signal. Many of the users are even comparing their other iPads, iPhones, and mac computers with the new model and finding that the most recent Apple tablet fares worse than all previous Apple products in wi-fi strength, speed, and range. Here is one commenter’s experience pulled from the support thread, courtesy of Gizmodo:

I spent 90 min in the store. We compared the speed on the 3 and my 2. Wasn’t a dramatic difference (because we were in the back of the store, closer to the router mothership!) But still there was a difference.

They did an exchange—but we all decided to test the new iPad 3.

We tested it, and still there was a difference – about 2/3 the strength. It wasn’t that big.

Then the clerk suggested we try another machine to compare two 3’s—and my 2.

When we went to the front of the store—at the entryway to the mall—I was vindicated! Because the signal was weaker—the the 2 was flying—getting 12 or 15—while the 3 was lagging at 3 or 4.

So the manager was called over. It was decided to swap it for yet another 3.

Tested it again and it was still the same problem.

But now everyone was aware that there is a problem with the 3.

Bottom line: I returned it, got my money back – and am back to the 2. It’s not as sharp, but it’s fast! So, I’ll wait a month or so, and see if they manage to improve the wifi issue.


This isn’t the first time an iPad has shown some wi-fi issues shortly after launch. In 2010, after Apple announce the first iPad, users were quick to find, and complain about, similar wireless connection problems. In that case, Apple rolled out a software update patch a couple of weeks later that fixed the issue. When Apple acknowledged the wi-fi issue with the original iPad, they suggested users try their own temporary fixes at home including: turning wi-fi off and on again on the iPad, changing or updating your router’s information and firmware, renaming and resetting your home network, etc. The support thread for the current wi-fi issue on the current iPad features users offering similar advice this time around, and some people seem to have their woes eased by going these routes. So the good news is that this is probably an easy-to-fix software problem and hopefully not a hardware issue, like with the now-notorious Antennagate. Still, if I had bought the new iPad and was experiencing connectivity issues, knowing that Apple only messed up the software and not the hardware would only mildly cool my frustrations.


It’s that time of year again: another Apple product and another scandal (or at least, imperfection). I remember only  few years ago when every Apple product released seemed to be perfect and intuitive– they had that special “it just works” quality about them. Yet with more competition from more manufacturers, and the increasing pressure to innovate more and more each and every single year, it makes sense that some imperfections would slip through the Cupertino Quality Control, even under the strict watch of the late Steve Jobs. Still, consumers have a hard time accepting even the most minute failures from a company (and product) that likes to through around the word “magical” a bit haphazardly.


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