Since its launch last month, Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) newest iPad has sold at least 3 million units. It also has been the focus of a number of user complaints, ranging from potential overheating to claims of misleading 4G marketing overseas. Now, 9to5Mac.com reports, the company is looking into questions about the new iPad’s Wi-Fi connectivity.
9to5Mac.com observes that iPad-related Internet forums are littered with customers expressing frustration about Wi-Fi connection failures, including more than 700 such messages posted on Apple’s own iPad support forums.
Typical complaints come from iPad users in locations with strong Wi-Fi signals who have only limited Wi-Fi connectivity with the new iPad, even while other mobile devices — including previous versions of the iPad — register strong connections. Problems cited include slow uploading and downloading speeds, frequently dropped connections and a complete failure to detect nearby Wi-Fi signals even as other devices have no problems connecting to them.
The rash of Wi-Fi complaints hasn’t gone unnoticed. PC Magazine and tech website Gizmodo recently reported rising customer gripes over the issue. Two weeks ago, Gizmodo noted the growing number of posts on Apple’s forums and concluded they were “a strong indication that something may be wrong, at least in some manufacturing batches.” PC Magazine pointed out that customers sounded similar complaints after the release of the original iPad in 2010. Apple ultimately acknowledged the issue and resolved it with a software update, PC Magazine said.
9to5Mac.com published what it claims is an internal Apple document, circulated to its AppleCare service department, showing that the company is taking the complaints seriously. The document notes that iPad “symptoms can include, but are not limited to: intermittent connectivity, slow WiFi speeds, and WiFi network not seen.” The document indicated that the problems are confined to Wi-Fi only versions of the new iPad. 4G models aren’t affected — possibly because of “extra network power allowed by the black rubber cut on the top of the unit,” 9to5Mac.com speculated.
The Apple document instructs AppleCare service staff to “capture” new iPads exhibiting Wi-Fi connectivity issues, along with all their original accessories, and send them back to Apple for hardware testing. Customers who return new iPads over the Wi-Fi issue will receive replacements.