10 things I don’t like about the iPad

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As a happy iPad user and one who chose the iPad because of specific features rather than “because it’s cool”, it’s often easy to be mistaken as an Apple fanboy. That is especially the case because of all the misconceptions people have about what the iPad can and cannot do, such as transfer files through USB, outputting video trough HDMI and so on. Rest assured that I in no way think the iPad is Thor’s gift to mankind, so in no particular order, here are 10 things that I don’t like about the thing. Note: if something’s not on the list, it simply means that I didn’t fit it in, or I don’t personally consider it an issue- it doesn’t mean it’s not an issue for someone else.

#1: iPhone apps are still only 320×480

The iPad can run any iPhone app in either 1x mode (match pixel for picel) or 2x mode (“full screen). When the iPhone 4 came out and had a 640×960 screen, people thought that it would be the end of pixelated iPhone-only apps on the iPad and the beginning of apps that were still physically oversized but at least not upscaled to look like a NES game. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Apple decided that wasn’t going to happen. Why? Who knows, but it’s one of the most annoying feature exclusions on the iPad in my book.

#2: Default multitasking on 256MB RAM is stupid

Sometimes it feels as though most of the time I spend using the iPad is for closing apps that run in the background. Despite uninformed Apple fanboys trying to convince everyone that the OS is intelligent enough to allocate enough RAM to the primary application on its own, anyone with half a brain who has ever used any iOS device for more than 5 minutes will tell you otherwise. If you want to make sure you don’t end up with a stop motion interface, you basically have to clear all running apps when you launch a new one. What I want is to be able to choose what apps will run in the background and which ones will not. Some apps are even more job when they don’t close  when you exit them, specifically apps who refresh on startup (such as postal tracking apps, social media apps) but won’t do so when you just “return” to them. I see no reason why a program that takes 2 seconds to start and that you use maybe once a day should be ready to continue where you left off. It should be enough to tell music apps and similar apps to multitask and then have the rest act like they’re actually running on a device with 256MB RAM. I’m sure the iPad 2 will have more RAM, but that’s still no reason to let apps go nuts all over the place.

#3: Crappy apps and messy app store

There are who knows how many apps on iOS now, and even though no other OS including Android is anywhere close to matching the amount of useful apps, most of them are still bullshit. I wish Apple was a bit more “evil” and “unfair” with regards to developers who spew out crappy apps left and right in the hope that something will stick. I’m talking fart apps, flashlight apps, books-as-apps (seriously, there are bookstore apps for a reason) and any other sort of obscure apps that only the developer themselves ever download. Even if denying them access is over the top, I wish they’d create an A list and a B list and put all the apps with questionable usefulness in the latter group. The app store is hard enough to navigate as is with the lack of subcategories in the mobile version of the iPad app store, so anything that helps to make it easier to find apps would be a big plus.

#4: Podcast subscriptions

While I understand while iTunes is needed for some things, I do not understand why in Thor’s name we can’t have podcast subscriptions on the iPad itself. You can go on iTunes and find any podcast episode you want and stream or download, sure, but forget about having your list of podcasts automatically updated with new episodes. Make it WiFi only, make it require a manual push of a button and a confirm to download, do whatever you want- but add the feature.

#5: Bluetooth file transfer

While most people I know have moved on from the kind of ancient technology that still relies on Bluetooth to transfer files, some still have those kinds of phones. The Bluetooth receiver is already there, so just add the feature to receive files via it! At the very least let someone else make an app that does it.

#6: Audio plugins

The iPad is an ironic bastard. On one hand it has features such as gapless playback and support for USB audio devices, but on the other hand you don’t even have an equalizer. Add some APIs to let developers create plugins for the audio player! I want my BBE effects on the iPad, and I want them NOW. At least this way we wouldn’t have to use hardware solutions to get some audio enhancements.

#7: Tethering

While this will no longer be an issue with WiFi hotspot features on the iPhone, that doesn’t excuse the last year where the iPhone has had perfectly functional tethering capabilities and the iPad has had absolutely no way of using them, Bluetooth or USB. All in the name of selling more 3G iPads that also cost more, I assume.

#8: Proprietary Mobile Me bullshit

Third party apps are pretty good at integrating things like Dropbox, but the same can’t be said for Apple’s own apps- included and optional. They prefer you buy a Mobile Me account to do things like file sync and contact backup, even though those features are readily available in the shape of Dropbox and Google Contacts.

#9: Web browser plugins

Add plugins to the web browser. Period. This should have been there from day 1, and I don’t care if other browsers don’t have it either. I want LastPass and Xmarks in Safari, and I want it last year.

#10: Game controllers

The iPad is a great gaming device, but limited byt the lack of physical controls. Some companies have tried to fix this, but Apple hasn’t made it easy for them. The iPad should have shipped with an open invitation to use readily available APIs to link on-screen touch controls with plug-in (or wireless) controllers. Give Nintendo the final death blow once and for all!

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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28 thoughts on “10 things I don’t like about the iPad

  • Avatar of Mathis

    Isn’t that part of the deal you pay for? Apples design and functionality is minimalistic, till they (re)invent something totaly new, refresh their lineup, so you have to pay again a lot of money for the new stuff ;)
    My only wish for my iPad is a wider range of audiocodecs, like .ogg…

  • Avatar of kasrhp

    Android has the Dolphin HD browser which uses plug ins such as last pass, and many others. I believe Skyfire does the same as well. Plug ins would be nice.

    Nice list though. Hits a lot of my problems with the iPad. Does iOS have any file browser system? Android has Astro and many others. I believe WebOS has it, but WP7 does not.

    • Avatar of Mathis

      it’s not realy a filebrowser, but take a look at goodreader

    • No file browser. No point, if you ask me. File systems are outdated and it’s one of the primary reasons why many people don’t understand technology.

  • Avatar of Relyt

    I agree mostly, but the Desktop/iTunes dependence is a negative to me and so is the lack of widgets or customizable homescreens (limitations of iOS as a tablet OS). Based on the reaction from the article expressing negativity towards widgets, I think most people here would disagree with me but I think Honeycomb is a far better tablet OS than iOS. A few months and the market will change around a lot.

  • Avatar of Barto

    The podcast management is my number one complaint, has been since the first time I touched an IOS device.

  • Avatar of macilaci457

    Great list. Lets flame. :-D

  • Avatar of McGyyver

    why can’t be some apps just be increased to the bigger amount of pixels. If Apps are constructed like html/…, fonts/stuff would look great on every resolution. Yes I get it, pictures, but for this reason the developer could just upload them in max / different resolutions. There should be a solution for this…

    • Avatar of macilaci457

      Eeeh.. its a complicated story. Do You develop apps? Last time I saw my friends making apps for mobile use they had a real hard fight to make everything (i mean it) vectorial. This could be a solution but then I have to mention Flash is vectorial too. :-D

    • High res versions exist, aka the iPhone 4 version of apps (4x the resolution, same layout). Apple simply doesn’t use it

      • Avatar of Mathis

        …to reInvent it as a pretty cool new feature :D

      • Avatar of Relyt

        Knowing Apple, they might market this as a new feature – “universal” apps.

  • I guess number 3 and 6 would be my top picks. Those would definitely be big pluses for me.

  • Wow, I thought for sure it had Bluetooth file transfer. Doesn’t everything?

  • Avatar of Nikko

    Well, I just want it to have a file browser.

  • Avatar of bolliby

    What about a bluetooth gamepad? I know there’s some bluetooth stuff for iphone/pod, but is there anything for the ipad?

    • Avatar of Mathis

      you could try to use the bluetooth-keyboard for gamecontrols.

    • There are some specialized ones that emulate keyboards and whatnot. What I’m suggesting is a universal API that lets any game use any controller

  • Some good points. What would’ve have been helpful though is a few comments on how android compares on these points.
    As someone considering tablets this just increases my negativity against Apple objectively with no real comparative evidence.

    • 1: Android scales apps better, but has WAY fewer that actually fits tablets perfectly- of which the iPad has tens of thousands. Will change in time.
      2: Same issue. Worse, in many cases, as you have less control over what’s running with widgets and all. However newer tablets and devices hae 512MB-1GB ram, which makes it a non-issue, just like what we’ll no doubt see with the iPad 2.
      3: Worse on Android. Worse mess, fewer good apps, equals higher percentage of crap. Nothing stopping anyone to publish apps.
      4: No integrated podcast support (no music store with podcasts), but as with the iPad, there are third party apps- like Google listen.
      5: Has it
      6: Possible, in existence (Cowon D3++)
      7: Everything is google = good
      8: Possible
      9: Third party solutions available
      10: Possible. Emulators controlled by wiimotes already exist

  • My wife really wants an Apple iPad so this article will be very helpful to discuss the long and short of it.

  • Avatar of Mathis

    I’m realy sceptic With The D3, First impressions weren’t that great… besides, an interessting fact: for you know, that creative had already implemented all this cool features like cameras, hd-functionality and Android in One device back in, i think 2008? Sad story, it was more an example for The power of The chip These used in it… nie its dead…

  • Avatar of Mathis

    *did you know… Not for.
    The Name of the device was zii-egg

  • Here are a few things that bother me, but it may be that I have only been using it for a few weeks now and have not figured everything out.
    1. I am still not happy with the lack of Flash support. I keep running into things I want to do that require flash. For Example: We were expecting a snow storm the other day and I wanted to see the latest weather radar loop and NO CAN DO because it needs Flash. I have tried some of the work arounds but so far nothing is really any good.
    2. I had a bunch of Videos and slide shows that my son had created but they would not play because of no support for WMV.
    3. The WiFi receiver seem fairly weak. It does not seem to get nearly as good WiFi reception as any of my other laptops and WiFi devices.
    4. I was looking for a good WiFi sniffer type application and was very dissapointed to find that Apple has prevented apps from accessing this part of the hardware.
    5. I really dislike the fact that it does not have any USB support or even an SD card slot to transfer data photos or other data.
    6. I really wish Apple had left provisions for upgrading. It seems like they always force us to purchase a whole new unit if you find you need something more. It would really be nice if you could purchase the 16GB model and then upgrade it later to 64GB if you find that you really need the extra memory. The same would be true for 3G. I really was not sure if I would need or want 3G and it would have been really nice if I could add that feature later if needed, but instead I had plunk down a lot of extra money just in case I ever needed it.
    7. It is nice, its cute, its fun but for the money, I am really not that impressed.

    • 1: iSwifter will let you do stuff like that in “emergencies”
      2: WMV isn’t supported natively, but there are dozens of apps that can play them. Buzz Player, movie player, cinexplayer etc
      3: my ipad gets better wifi reception than any of my classmate’s laptops, though not as good as my own laptop
      5: apple camera connection kit
      6: no tablet is upgradable like that. some have the ability to put in extra memory, but that won’t work on the ipad because of how the file system works.


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