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iPad Progress Report 374

Posted by kdawson
from the floor-wax-and-dessert-topping dept.
Now that the 300,000 early adopters have had a few days to play and work with their iPads, we're moving beyond the "first impressions" articles (but here's a video of a 2-1/2-year-old's first encounter with the device). The detailed reviews aren't out yet. The largest source of early complaints is a complex of problems with Wi-Fi reception. Apple has posted a technical support note implicitly acknowledging the problems and suggesting some work-arounds — specifically, changing SSIDs or encryption methods on base stations that offer both 2.4-GHz and 5.8-GHz signals. Finally, here's a detailed look at the gratuitous pain Apple imposes on those desiring to get iWork files transferred from and to the iPad.
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iPad Progress Report

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:35PM (#31752674)

    WTF is that?

  • by adeelarshad82 (1482093) * on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:37PM (#31752714) Homepage
    other solutions [pcmag.com] to the wi-fi problems.
    • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:55PM (#31753026)

      From your link Apple suggests:
      1. update your router's firmware
      2. change your router's location
      3. set your router to operate on one 802.11 standard
      4. change your router's security
      5. rename your networks

      In the reported cases only the newly released iPad is having problems, but according to Apple the problem is with your router.

      • Aww... it was funnier when I thought his link was a disguised recommendation to “buy a PC”.

        (Yes, I know that “Macs are PCs too”. No need to tell me...)

      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @04:08PM (#31753210) Journal

        In the reported cases only the newly released iPad is having problems, but according to Apple the problem is with your router.

        Well, obviously. If you have two devices, one of which is perfect, and a problem, obviously the device that is not perfect is the problem.

        What do they teach you kids in logic these days?

      • by RJHelms (1554807) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @04:52PM (#31753818)
        At the very least, step 1 is not so absurd.

        A while back, the girlfriend bought a Macbook, which was the first Apple device that ever tried to connect to my router over WiFi. Even 6" away from the router, the Macbook would not connect; any PC we tried would work all (15 feet) across the apartment.

        I was prepared to chalk it up to shoddy Apple networking hardware, but on a whim tried a firmware upgrade. Lo and behold, after the router rebooted the Macbook immediately recognized it and connected without issue.

        I have no idea what/where the actually problem was, but if Apple had suggested the exact same list of steps to me they would've been right on the money.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Altus (1034)

          There were some problems with older routers dealing with 802.11g devices when those first came out. I ran into that myself. The entire network would lock up shortly after a G device was connected to it. Since my router was pretty old (802.11 b I think) I just picked up a new one anyway.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        My Apple product is brand new.
        My router is old and dusty.
        Maybe I should get a new shiny router.
        Maybe Apple could sell me a shiny new router?

  • Wi-Fi problems (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:38PM (#31752736) Homepage

    Our neighbor picked up an iPad on launch day, and he has definitely experienced the Wi-Fi problem. His Acer Aspire One in his basement can connect to his wireless G Linksys router on his top floor with a good, strong signal. His iPad can BARELY connect while he is on his ground floor, and in his basement you can forget about it. His Aspire One can also see our wireless network as well as the network belonging to folks on the other side of him, but even if he shoves his iPad against the wall dividing our town homes, he still can't even see our router, much less connect to it.

    • by Casca (4032) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:42PM (#31752808) Journal

      How exactly is this a problem? Just buy an apple airport wireless extender and problem solved.

      • by Anonymusing (1450747) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:46PM (#31752880)
        Ah yes, the great Apple solution: buy more stuff from Apple!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by alphax45 (675119)
        The problem is that you shouldn't have to buy another device so that your iPad works with a router that everything else works with. It really seems like something is wrong with the Wi Fi in the iPad..
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tlhIngan (30335)

      Definitely true.

      If you take a look at the iPad Teardown [ifixit.com], you'll see the WiFi antenna (step 24, bottom), which can only peer out of the Apple logo. There's no use thinking otherwise - it's just that one antenna out the spot in the back. The rest of the case is metal, and the screen probably has a metal backing on it, making the only place for signals to escape is that little patch of plastic.

      I'm surprised you get any signal at all without having to "aim" the back of the iPad at the AP.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by illumin8 (148082)

      I have an iPad and I've been sitting in the opposite corner of my 2,000 sq. foot house, through 6 walls, an elevator shaft, and numerous electronic devices, and have had no problems with wifi whatsoever. In fact, I downloaded 1GB of music and it was fast, easily maxing out my 20 megabit cable Internet connection, while sitting in the opposite corner of the house from my wifi router.

      I'm using an Airport Extreme base station (the original, not improved new version), with WPA2, wireless-N enabled, so YMMV. M

  • No one's hacked it yet?

    Come on people, get on the ball...
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:45PM (#31752866) Homepage

    Doing anything with documents on an iPad sounds awful. You apparently have to "sync" with a Mac using iTunes. In any business environment, you'd want to talk to some server.

    Apparently the iPad is incompatible with Google Docs, although this may just be a bug.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Wyatt Earp (1029)
    • by D Ninja (825055)

      Apparently the iPad is incompatible with Google Docs, although this may just be a bug.

      I think Apple would call it a feature...

  • by CompressedAir (682597) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:49PM (#31752942)

    It sure seems strange to me that Apple, who sell themselves as the "complete" and "it just works" experience would release the iPad before the next version of iPhoneOS comes out. This sounds like the kind of giant pay-to-beta-test sort of thing that Apple is known for NOT doing.

    As someone who uses an iPhone and would like an iPad, Thursday will be very interesting.

    Is anyone else reminded of the 10.0 release of OSX?

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @04:22PM (#31753376) Journal

      Sometimes Apple has a period of greatness and then they have a period of... well, not so greatness. Maybe it is time again?

      Personally, I don't know. The Wifi problems sound odd, but then again, who exactly thought putting an metal shield on an antenna was a good idea? But surely Apple would have tested that.

      I think what we are finding is that a lot of people are putting this device under an intense microscope, determined to find any and all flaws and blow them up out of proportion. High trees catch a lot of wind, especially if they fail to fall in previous gusts of hot air. Anyone remember people scoffing the iPod and iPhone? They must be getting desperate for Apple to have one of its famous screw-ups again.

      I think Apple had a simple reason to launch the iPad now. One of its uses is to go outside and use it. Who is going to go outside in the winter? And soonish they will have to announce a new macbook pro anyway (core 2 duo is getting very long in the tooth) and that makes more sense later in the year, and two must have's should be seperated so the victim eh customer has time to recover from the bloodletting that is called buying an Apple product.

      Frankly, I have seen all this negativity before. I don't put much stock in it. If someone were to introduce fire in this day and age, people would find plenty of stuff wrong with it and claim that nobody really needs it.

      • by CompressedAir (682597) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @04:27PM (#31753470)

        Requires sticks. Dimmer than the sun. Lame.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shaper (88544)

        Sometimes Apple has a period of greatness and then they have a period of... well, not so greatness. Maybe it is time again?

        Apple sold 300,000 iPads on the first day. Their market cap just passed Wal-Mart making them the 3rd most valuable company traded in US markets, behind only Microsoft and Exxon-Mobil. Regardless of particular views on the merits of the iPhone or the iPad, they are re-defining their markets and forcing competitive innovation just by their very existence. This is almost by definition a "great" period for a company.

        • as a means of ranking one company against another. Or did we learn nothing from Enron and Worldcom? Look instead at sales, at product diversification, licensing and pipelines, and at past performance relative to market performance in terms of alpha/beta. Back in the early 1980s, when Apple launched the Lisa/Mac and Microsoft was launching Windows 1.0, Apple's employee number, market cap *and* sales were literally hundreds of times larger than Microsoft's at that time. Look where they went, and where they ar

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by fatwilbur (1098563)
          Yes, Apple is 'worth' over $210 billion dollars. Reminds me of two years ago when my neighbor said his small bungalow house was 'worth' half a million dollars.

          I'm not going to venture a guess as to what Apple is REALLY worth as a company, but when something is so extremely hyped in the media, it's stock is almost guaranteed to be overvalued.
    • This sounds like the kind of giant pay-to-beta-test sort of thing that Apple is known for NOT doing

      Actually this is par for the course. iPhone 1.0, OSX 10.0, iPod 1.0, etc. They all were beta sold as release.

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @04:24PM (#31753406)

      It sure seems strange to me that Apple, who sell themselves as the "complete" and "it just works" experience would release the iPad before the next version of iPhoneOS comes out. This sounds like the kind of giant pay-to-beta-test sort of thing that Apple is known for NOT doing.

      Think about that. Apple released a new product on an older but proven OS. iPhone OS 3.2 is a version of iPhone OS specifically modified for iPad. It was released in beta back in Jan 2010. You're advocating that they should have released a brand new product on a new, unproven OS (4.0 which hasn't been released outside of Apple yet). Sounds like Apple is trying to avoid the beta-testing you're accusing them of doing.

      Also this week they will announce/release the beta version of 4.0 to developers. It will be at least a few months after release before the OS moves from beta to final. That would have to delay the launch of iPad for a few more months.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Altus (1034)

        Plus this will give them a chance to see what other things might be missing from the iPad OS and fix those issues in version 4.0 of the OS.

    • by KarmaMB84 (743001)

      Is anyone else reminded of the 10.0 release of OSX?

      That's a little harsh.

  • by ShadyG (197269) <bgraymusicNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:53PM (#31752990) Homepage
    What I'm really interested to know is will the iPad allow me to write a book, save in unencrypted ePub format, and upload it to my own device, to be read by iBooks? I happen to be in the market for an e-reader, but not one that won't allow me to read self-authored content.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shadis (934448)
      Yes, yes you can. Check out the section of the IPad user guide for ibooks ( http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/iPad_User_Guide.pdf [apple.com] ). You can import any non-DRM epub formatted file into ITunes and then Sync that with the ipad.
    • by joh (27088) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @04:19PM (#31753342)

      What I'm really interested to know is will the iPad allow me to write a book, save in unencrypted ePub format, and upload it to my own device, to be read by iBooks?

      Yes. Drag your ePub file into iTunes, sync with the iPad, done. Or publish your book via smashwords (free), get it into the iBooks store this way and install it right from the iPad ;-)

    • by Brandee07 (964634)

      I don't believe Pages will save to ePub, but iBooks can read third-party non-DRM ePub files. So, you can always type it up as a Pages file, export it to your computer as a Doc, and use some other program to convert it to ePub, and then move it back to your iPad, but ugh.

      As for getting your book onto the iBookstore for others to buy, currently only Amazon allows individuals to self-publish ebooks for their store.

      However, you can publish with SmashWords, who offers none of the editing/marketing assistance of

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      What kind of pinko communist are you? Writing your own content is communist, and no better than stealing from all the people working hard to provide you good corporate-produced content.

  • On the 2.5 YO (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Swanktastic (109747) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:58PM (#31753064)

    The little girl had obviously spent a lot of time playing with an iPhone or iPod Touch. While cute, I don't think it really qualifies as much of a First-Encounter-type UI experiment.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by alen (225700)

      my son is the same age and he can get around my iphone pretty well. i have 2 pages of apps just for him. i've noticed that if i change their position or the page they are on, he can still find the app he's looking for. his current favorite is a Thomas the Train puzzle game.

      and thanks to video download helper on firefox, i can download train videos for him from youtube. and sometimes he just likes to explore, try playing the music i have, change the position of my apps, etc

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by stimpleton (732392)
      This is slashdot so you are forgiven....so I'll paste the first sentence for you:

      "My iPhone-savvy 2.5 year-old daughter held an iPad for the very first time last night, and it turned out to be an interesting user-interface experiment."
    • by Kitkoan (1719118)
      UI aren't really that hard to use though. Click and touch. Hell I was pretty good using a Macintosh with Apple OS version 1 at 3 and a half years old in 1984. Thats why companies make UI's instead of stuff like DOS. Because they are easy to use.
  • Probably not 300k (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Luthair (847766) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:58PM (#31753072)
    According to PCWorld [pcworld.com], the Apple press release citing 300k units is including those sold to Bestbuy, which is of course entirely different from the number of units sold by Bestbuy.
    • by ProppaT (557551) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @04:15PM (#31753284) Homepage

      I'm not really bothered by the 300k number. I'm sure there's nearly that many Apple zealots waiting to get their hands on one to begin with. What I'm curious about is how many of those 300k people are people who are just going to buy the next Apple gadget on launch day vs. those who bought it out of genuine interest. Also, I'm curious if this will drive up the sales of iPod Touches when people go out to get an iPad but realize they can save a few hundred dollars and basically have the same functionality + portability. Personally, I hope it flops...we don't need Apple dictating, shaping, and propriatizing yet another format...but that's just an off topic rant.

      • I was at the Palo Alto store at 6am. I wanted to get hands on an actual device for our app, which was going on sale by the grand opening. Surely enough, about 1/3 of the people in line were other developers in the same situation, and another 1/3 were marketing consultants doing the rounds for attention and clients. I bet the number of typical Apple fans was higher in other stores, though.

  • Is after 1 month after purchase. When the Gee Wiz is out... The back has a few scratches... Do they put it on a shelf and forget about it or will they use it in their daily lives. I remember back in the 90's when I got myself a Palm III I when I first go it I was playing with it and it was all cool and I downloaded apps for it and everything else... But after a month I kept on forgetting to use it, leaving it at home and not really using it for anything useful. I didn't get myself an iPad not because I

    • by Pojut (1027544)

      For myself, getting a Palm Pilot (m100, represent!) in high school was a freakin' life saver. My hand writing has always been horrible, and the easy-to-learn recognition alphabet it used made my note taking actually worth while.

      I know a lot of people that got PDAs that didn't really use them for much, but note taking and keeping track of my homework alone made mine indispensable for me.

  • Adopters. Early Adapters? WTF??
  • This is looking like a "wait for Service Pack 1" or "wait for version 2" situation.

    This could be a nice little device in a year, when the software is debugged, the cellular interface is in and works, the cellular networks have provisioned enough capacity to serve video to the thing, there's decent support for business documents, and the price has dropped by 50% or so.

  • Apple make a great product. But never first time round. If I did want one of these, I would wait for the next revision at least.

  • Are developers out of their freaking minds? Do they seriously thing that Things is worth paying $19.99? I mean, I can see the utility, but given all the alternatives, do they seriously believe that people are going to pay that much?

    • Actually, I would pay $19.99 for it.

      Not a whole lot more than that, though... my current laptop services me fine and doesn’t impose as many silly rules about what I can and can’t install on it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Next year Apple will announce iPhone OS 5.0 with an innovative new idea that they're calling "iFile". With this new service all of your applications can share documents by storing them in a common location. iFile will include an innovative system of organization called "Folders". Folders will allow you to group related documents together in a single location. You will even be able to create Folders within Folders.

    And coming in iPhone OS 6.0, "iFile Share". Share your iFiles over any network connection.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @04:20PM (#31753352) Homepage Journal

    especially sunlight. Sorry but with this type of device I was really hoping I could use it outdoors without fearing the light. No go. Sorry its abysmal. It also has the problem of not being viewable in page format with polarized lenses, landscape was fine. When I borrowed my friends Kindle I found I could read outside just fine. Let alone the weight, sorry but it really amazes me how much it gets to you over time.

    I don't need another device that is trapped indoors. Summer is almost upon us and I don't want something I fear leaving in the sun, let alone using with the sun out. I guess I can sit under the umbrella but really, my marine GPS is beautiful in sunlight, why can't we have an iPad for the outdoors instead of basement dwellers?

    • by D Ninja (825055)

      The reason the iPad looks so poor outdoors is because it uses your typical LCD screen. The Kindle, on the other hand, uses the e-ink screens which have a much higher contrast ratio (and, I have noticed, reduce glare) which makes it much easier to view them. Of course, the Kindle's screen gives up a lot as well, so there is a bit of a trade-off depending on what you're looking for.

  • Will one out of every three stories from every newspaper, magazine, website, radio and TV station for the next 18 months really be about the iPad?

    I need to know right now so I can prepare myself by drinking a large glass of neurotoxin, with a bullet to the brain chaser.

  • iDontCareAnymore
  • by VendingMenace (613279) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @05:26PM (#31754312)

    Where have I heard about that before?

    The future is now :)

  • Bah, Apple. (Score:3, Informative)

    by jeek (37349) <jeekNO@SPAMjeek.net> on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @06:30PM (#31755190) Homepage

    I wanted a tablet, but wasn't looking to get anything by Apple or something Windows based. Linux's touch support seems pretty dodgy, so I ended up settling on an Entourage Edge. It looks pretty horrible asthetically, but has been incredibly useful/fun. It's an android-based ereader/tablet with two screens, a WACOM-stylus eink on one side, and a typical touch screen LCD on the other. After using it for a about a week now, I definitely recommend it to others. www.entourageedge.com

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