iPad 3G Release Has Hiccups

The release of the new 3G version of Apple’s iPad happened yesterday. Those wanting more than just Wi-Fi net access patiently waited a month for their magical devices hearing about things like the great ABC or Netflix Apps and using Skype on the thing. Their expectations were high. But some of those were dashed when a dose of reality was included inside the typically stylish Apple packaging.

Image from TUAW

These are a few of the hopes that have been dashed by the 3G release.

  1. Video Issues: The biggest story of the iPad 3G release is probably the video functionality, or lack thereof. While Wi-Fi only users have enjoyed the ABC TV app and high quality Netflix and YouTube streaming, the 3G iPad users will not. The ABC app will not work unless you hook up to Wi-Fi. YouTube videos will play with the included YouTube app, but they scaled down to a lower quality when viewed over 3G. TechCrunch reported that AT&T seems to be saying this is an Apple decision. Netflix is downgrading video quality over 3G as well. But the biggest surprise is that Apple’s own iTunes video streaming of previews are too, this according to Engadget.
  2. No Skype over 3G: When users ran Skype to make calls via 3G they received a message saying, You need Wi-Fi to call over Skype.” Evidently it is a contractual” problem. This is not really new since there is no iPad specific version and the old version didn’t work via anything but Wi-Fi either. Skype claims this will happen at some point in the near future so some users hoped the time was now. All of this is according to TUAW.
  3. Can’t Call the 3G iPad: Despite having a phone number assigned to the iPad 3G, you cannot make calls to the device’s number. Again, this is not a surprise, but there was some hope that you could at least send text messages or leave voice mail. Not possible officially. However there is a hack for sending text messages if you jailbreak your iPad, something the general public cannot do till the Dev Team releases a jailbreak publicly. See the video after the list below…
  4. Sign Up Problems: The signup process has been less than simple. This might be due to the volume on release day. Some had issues with the AT&T web site and signing up via the iPad was hard for some.
  5. Purchasing Without Pre-ordering: There are conflicting reports about the availability of the 3G at Best Buy stores. Some say you can get them while others reported they were out. I went to my local Best Buy and they had them.
  6. Latency: Gizmodo did some speed tests with the iPad 3G and while it found that speeds were high enough, even better in most cases than other devices on Verizon’s network, it did have higher latency than the iPhone over 3G.
  7. Slow GPS Lock: The iPad 3g has GPS capability. The signal lock was good, but was much slower to obtain a lock than the iPhone with the new beta version of the 4.0 OS.
  8. Magazine Prices: Not a 3G specific problem, but all iPad magazine subscriptions will be higher than paper versions. This comes from a Fortune Magazine article via Gizmodo. The article bases this prediction on opinions from Popular Science and TIME Magazine publishers.

Almost Identical

The most significant difference besides the 3G radio is the dark plastic across the top, apparently to help with radio signal strength. It makes me wonder if the 3G iPad will have the same problems with Wi-Fi signal strength that some of us have had with our Wi-Fi only iPads.

Image from Crunchgear

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