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Apple Investigating New iPad Wi-Fi Problem

Apple has instructed AppleCare employees to replace iPads that have faulty Wi-Fi radios, according to leaked info.

Apple is actively investigating claims of poor Wi-Fi performance on the new iPad, says an internal document published by 9to5Mac. In Apple's support forums, a thread about the Wi-Fi problem has garnered 700 responses from users claiming to have experienced the issue. Media reports about the problem surfaced soon after the new iPad became available.

The document reads, in part, "In the U.S., contact centers and retail stores should capture iPad (3rd generation) Wi-Fi only devices if they exhibit any issue related to Wi-Fi. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to: intermittent connectivity, slow Wi-Fi speeds, and Wi-Fi network not seen."

Captured devices are affected units that are collected by Apple as customer returns/exchanges. They are sent to Apple's labs for testing.

Apple instructed its AppleCare employees to verify that the problem is hardware-related--rather than software-related--before accepting returns and sending the units in for evaluation. Employees were told to collect the iPad, cable, and charging adapter, and return them all to Apple.

[ Is the iPad poised to challenge Wintel in the enterprise? Read more at The New iPad: 7 Updates That Mean Business. ]

It appears that the problem occurs only on devices that have Wi-Fi radios; LTE 4G versions are not affected. Apple hasn't offered any explanations, but 9to5Mac posits that the LTE version offers more power to the radios. The LTE versions also have less metal obstructing the radios from finding nearby Wi-Fi networks, thanks to the black plastic casing near the top edge.

What about you--any Wi-Fi-only new iPad owners out there having Wi-Fi problems? I have not noticed the problem on my LTE 4G iPad at all.

In addition to the Wi-Fi glitch, Consumer Reports pointed out that the new iPad also gets much warmer than the original iPad and iPad 2. Apple says the new iPad operates within accepted thermal boundaries. After a month, my device has yet to warm up at all, even after hours of use.

The new iPad has also been called out for odd charging behavior. Some owners have reported that the device wouldn't charge when plugged in, or it would charge for hours after the battery indicator said the battery was fully charged. Apple later explained that all iOS devices fully charge the battery, then discharge a little and recharge it while it is plugged in.

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Andrew Hornback
Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/5/2012 | 5:53:14 PM
re: Apple Investigating New iPad Wi-Fi Problem
When you have to keep putting new (and better?) products out every year... I'm guessing that more time goes into the design to differentiate this year's device from the last and less time goes into actual testing and quality control.

With regards to the WiFI-only version vs. the WiFi/LTE version and connectivity - the term Faraday cage comes to mind.

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
User Rank: Apprentice
4/6/2012 | 7:03:12 PM
re: Apple Investigating New iPad Wi-Fi Problem
It would be interesting to know, during testing, how many Wifi only devices were tested versus Wifi/3G devices. I know for some that Wifi only is passe, but some of us watch our pennies. Maybe nobody wanted to test the Wifi only device so it didn't get as thorough of a vetting. These issues (original iPhone and now possibly Wifi issues) point how how Radio Frequency problems can creep into a digital electronics world were communications from point A to point B are assumed to be "a given". Sounds like Apple is proactively trying to confirm/isolate the problems by getting the reported devices back. This is a good thing.
User Rank: Apprentice
5/26/2012 | 9:27:07 PM
re: Apple Investigating New iPad Wi-Fi Problem
I remember having this issue; it was really annoying being forced to use the new iPad, only in the same room as my wifi router because of the poor range.I spent quite a bit of time researching, for a solution, with no luck. All of the methods I found didn't work for me.I did a bunch of research came across WIRED magazine and found a extensive and detailed review of Pong Research cases. These guys make a very special case which has a built-in antenna in between its layers, which redirects and boost the signal and range of your new iPad, iPhone and other devices. This solved my new iPad 3 wifi issues and now as a result, I'm able to connect to my router from further distance without a problem at all.
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