Apple's new golden gadget, the iPad, appears to have laid its first golden egg. There are reports abounding of it failing to connect to WiFi networks properly - and Apple appears to have confirmed them.
Clearly this is something that's hit only those territories in which the device is available, which basically means the US for the moment. Apple shareholders will be wondering whether this is going to persist by the time other territories roll out.
It's difficult to overstate the importance of this bug, if it's going to be a bug that lasts. Various research suggests that the vast majority of iPad owners will want to use the device to browse the web. Here's a blog on why this separates it from the Kindle, for example.
And if it won't browse properly, that kind of goes away. So it's useful for, umm...well, probably quite a lot of stuff - photo sharing (but not through social networking sites), e-reading (but only if we download some other way, and not at all in the UK unless they're holding back an announcement).
Maybe this is precisely why nobody should ever buy the first iteration of any gadget, ever.
As it turns out, the issue may have something to do with the case design. The entire back of the iPad is milled from a aluminum plate, similar to the MacBook Pro. Very durable and rigid. However the small wi-fi antenna is situated in a small hollow, covered with the black plastic Apple logo on the back, allowing signal to pass. This arrangement is fine when the iPad is held in the hands. But becomes iffy when the iPad is laying face up on a table or your lap and the window in blocked, weakening or cutting off the signal.
Nothing makes it to market without some design glitches.
i personally think the ipad is a dud and will prove to be a dud. I love most apple products but what does this new product replace? Or what is it better than? Not a laptop or netbook. virtual keyboard is a fail. It certainly doesn't replace a phone.. way too big. Maybe it can replace the Kindle? But then why the glossy display or half the battery life? It seems more like an over sized and overpriced ipod.
Curiously enough I was in the back of a taxi a couple of weeks ago, en route to the BBC to talk about the day's headlines, and used the iPhone to scan the papers - and found myself thinking, a bigger screen would be vastly easier. That's too niche to make a product really popular but it's one example where the iPad or something like it would be really neat.
All of which goes away if the thing doesn't connect or costs a fortune to do so...