Expert thinks software update could be enough to fix iPad’s Wi-Fi issues

Apr 9, 2012
Tech

Apple’s fixes for the Wi-Fi connectivity issues users have been reporting with the new iPad may be as simple as a software update, according to one tech expert. Last Friday, Computerworld interviewed Aaron Vronko, CEO of the Michigan-based iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch repair shop company Rapid Repair, to find out what might be at […]

Apple’s fixes for the Wi-Fi connectivity issues users have been reporting with the new iPad may be as simple as a software update, according to one tech expert.

Last Friday, Computerworld interviewed Aaron Vronko, CEO of the Michigan-based iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch repair shop company Rapid Repair, to find out what might be at the heart of users’ Wi-Fi issues with the tablet. Vronko said he thinks the problem could be with the power management software in the device, rather than an issue with its hardware.

Users have been complaining about Wi-Fi issues basically since the iPad became available last month, but those complaints aren’t about full-on Wi-Fi failure in the device. Instead, users experience weak signal strength, slow download speeds and the inability to find Wi-Fi networks. But Vronko said that because the problems seem at least somewhat intermittent, they’re probably the result of not enough power getting to the device’s Wi-Fi components, rather than those components being broken outright.

Instead, Vronko thinks that the problem is that Wi-Fi, like just every other component in the new iPad, demands a lot of power. There’s the Retina display, which gobbles up energy in order to create lush, high-resolution images; and there’s the GPU unit that does the rendering for the Retina display. Those components are also part of the reason the new iPad gets hotter than most other devices on the market, though only by a few degrees. Using a lot of energy generates heat, and the technology inside the iPad does just that.

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Apple has had to carefully manage just about every electron running through the iPad in order to maintain its commitment to 10 hours of battery life in its devices, and that means software that makes sure none of the components are being wasteful. That very same software might be doing its job too well, restricting the Wi-Fi components’ power supply and causing them to underperform. On the plus side, that could just mean an iOS patch to fix the issues once Apple has them ironed out. Rumor has it, Apple is already sending iPads with the Wi-Fi issue back to engineering centers to check them over while replacing the devices for users.

We’ll keep on the lookout for new information about the iPad’s Wi-Fi issues and what Apple might be doing to address them. So far, the company hasn’t officially recognized that there’s a problem at all, so it may still be awhile before a major fix gets made.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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