Jul 122010
 

I still like my Apple iPad but am rather peeved with Apple.

I’ve had my iPad for just over a week now. I got it for two main reasons: to see if it could help me in my writing life and if it could improve my functionality, get around my brain injury limitations. I haven’t yet decided on the improve-my-organization aspect of the iPad, but I already know its bugginess is a serious headache.

Apple touts its iPad as an e-mail, web surfing machine with amazing video capabilities. When Apple released this game changer, it was way ahead of the competition and already had had years of experience with the iPod Touch and iPhone. So you’d think that the two things Apple touts would work fine.

Well, no.

First Bug

All I wanted to do was watch a TV show. But first, Steve Jobs absolutely refuses to allow Flash on his products. That meant I couldn’t watch what I wanted on television channel websites as they use Flash. Second, whether it’s YouTube or the NFB (National Film Board of Canada) app, no video will play seamlessly that’s more than about 5 minutes long. I have the same problem on my iPod Touch. In fact, it’s so bad on the iPod that I gave up watching any YouTube video and the NFB app altogether. Not worth the hassle.

But after seeing the iPad launch, listening to the hype, I figured the iPad would have no such problems. Wrong!

I gather part of the problem with YouTube is its mobile or touch pad interfaces and that its app is not as good as going to YouTube on Safari. The latter is true. I finally ended up using its desktop interface as a way to force the video to load all the way. Even then, more often than not, it would conk out midway, or worse, a couple minutes from the end – unless the video was shorter than 5 minutes. Meanwhile, a short film will also play uninterrupted in the NFB app (or a video podcast). Short being about 5 minutes. Any longer than that, and it’ll start and stop, start and stop. But at least it will eventually load all the way. Is that because the servers at the NFB end are not up to the task? And how could the servers be a problem with YouTube, when on the computer, I have no such loading and watching problems?

Whatever the reason, the iPad sucks as a video watching machine.

Second Bug

I have the WiFi-only iPad as data rates in Canada are usurious. But no prob I thought even though I already knew my iPod Touch loses the WiFi signal after it’s been asleep or has a weak signal when my laptop pulls in WiFi just fine. The iPod Touch also doesn’t seem to like certain kinds of WiFi though Apple says it works. But the iPad is worse.

The iPad will suddenly, for no reason, stop connecting while you’re in the middle of something on the Internet or sending an e-mail, and will ask you for the WiFi password. Lovely. It’s done it so many times, I have, believe it or not, memorized that long string of characters. A few people recommended resetting network settings. I’ve done that twice. Each time, iPad behaves itself for a day or two.

But I’m getting fed up. Today, right when I was working with my therapist on my calendar online, boom, iPad dropped the connection and absolutely refused to remake it, even with the password. I had to reset the network settings before we could continue. How unprofessional. And what a waste of both our time.

Occasionally, iPad will also have the won’t-connect-after-sleep problem that the iPod Touch has, in which case I have to go into Settings to choose my network.

When I Googled about this issue, I found many articles dating from May 11th, extolling Apple for coming out with a WiFi fix. But with further digging, I realised that was just Apple making a grand announcement to the media to get everyone to shut up about it because my iPad, purchased two months later, has the same OS number as existed back in May. Apple has not released a fix to date. I cannot imagine any other company taking this long to release a critical fix and getting away with it without causing a brouhaha across the Net.

Twitter PC Mag Consumer Reports Print Screen 12-July-2010

But maybe now that Consumer Reports has come out and said don’t buy the iPhone 4 – after waves of articles pointing out that a cell phone that can’t make calls is really, uh, stupid and after weeks of Apple saying we’re going to release a fix – Apple will get serious about its connectivity issues. As for the video problems, I don’t see a fix coming at all.

It really is too bad that there’s no competition for the iPad.

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