iPad: Second Impressions (Internet and Apps)

Sections: Features, Hands On / First Looks, iPad, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, Originals

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Now that I’ve had my (or, more accurately, my wife’s) iPad for a while, I’ve been able to dig a bit deeper into its functionality. It deserves to be repeated that the screen is gorgeous; you’ll recognize that right away. Remember how looking at the iPhone screen suddenly made every other cell phone’s display technology feel like it hadn’t advanced beyond 1986? The iPad’s HD display does the same thing to the iPhone. But there was a problem.

Internet Problems

After connecting the iPad to my MacBook and setting it up in iTunes, I figured I was good. I unplugged it, found my WiFi, hit Safari, and was immediately told it couldn’t connect because there’s no Internet. This, while the upper left of the screen showed a very strong WiFi connection. Did I miss a setting? No. Everything was at it should be. No help on the Internet yet, of course, so I just keep messing around the settings; turning them off and back on; disconnecting WiFi and reconnecting. Nothing.

So, I called Apple tech support. And of course, the moment I began to describe the situation, I was connected. This is not the first time that’s happened with Apple tech support. I doubt it will be the last.

After turning off the iPad and turning it back on later, I had the same problem, albeit for a much shorter period (about a minute or two vs. 10 to 15). It does this when waking up from sleep, too. My guess is that for some reason the iPad is able to find WiFi before it can actually do anything with it. Or maybe it’s my WiFi set-up. We’ll see as more reports come in and I’m able to do more testing.

Once on, I was very impressed with the Safari experience. The touch screen controls (swipe, pinch, etc.) are much more responsive than on the iPhone. Safari screams, comparitively, pulling up pages much more quickly and scrolling at an amazing speed. It’s fantastic. Same messy bookmarking system, though.

Syncing Apps

I also like what Apple has done with apps. In iTunes, your iPad apps are separated from those for the iPhone and iPod touch, so they’re easy to find.

iPad Apps

Same goes for syncing between iTunes and iPad. As with the iPhone (and separate of that), you simply check the apps you want to sync up…provided you didn’t tell iTunes to do this automatically when you plug in your iPad.

iPad Apps

Unfortunately, the apps aren’t separated here between iDevices, so you may have to drill through a lot to get what you want. Hopefully, Apple adds that in soon.


Your movies and TV shows now get their own app, which is great; easier for the kids to find what they want, since they’ll be doing the movie watching on this thing. Although the screen looks great, I’m still spoiled by the Samsung LCD and Infinity surround system in the living room.

iPad Apps

Beyond that, a lot of the functionality is the same as you’re used to with the iPhone and iPod touch. Holding down an app icon allows you to then drag it around the screen or to another, swiping to the right from the home screen takes you to the search feature, and hitting the on/off switch and the home button at the same time takes a screenshot. Like this:

iPad Apps

Someone will have to tell me, though, why the upper right of the screen displays “Not Charging” when my battery is at 90% and the iPad is plugged into the computer via USB. It charges just fine when plugged into the wall.

Time to go use it some more, but check back here at Appletell for more commentary (with video, before too long). I do want to leave you with a bit of advice, however…learn to use that screen lock switch on the upper right side of the device. Screen rotation is quite sensitive on the iPad, and you’ll want to lock in so your books, movies, etc. don’t keep switching orientation.

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  • Michael Lafferty

    Apple has published this short technical note concerning connection issues, though—at first glance—it does not appear to be directly related to the behavior you experienced:

  • Oliver

    Good Review..
    Ur ipad isn't charging as you are probably not using a highspeed USB port, which the ipad needs…this is why it works with the wall ur computer an older model? As this may be the cause..

  • Kirk Hiner

    Thanks, Michael. There was a bit at Apple's support site that may prove helpful. If so, I'll write it up here.

    Oliver, that's partially correct in my case. I had the iPad plugged into a USB 2.0 hub, powered, but it didn't work with that. It does charge when plugged directly into my MacBook. Guess it's just an incompatibility.

  • Help

    You cannot charge your iPad on a regular PC. Only the wall charger and charging through a Mac.

  • Kirk Hiner

    Yeah, I'm on a Mac (obviously), but it'd be nice if I could still charge through my powered USB hub.

  • Kirk Hiner

    Did you try the tips at Apple's site linked in Michael's post above?

    Does your iPad charge when plugged directly into your Mac? If not, call Apple's tech support…that's a problem.

  • Selina

    I got the same problem with the internet connection as you did. I have no idea if I should return the ipad or try to fix it. Did you get it back to normal or still cannot access the internet?

    If you did, could you help me fix it?

    Thank you very much!!!

  • Kirk Hiner

    Selina, my problem disappeared while on the phone Apple support, and hasn't resurfaced. There's now no problem connected to WiFi signals and getting full Internet access through Safari, Mail, etc. Still not sure what the problem was.

    Is yours the same? WiFi signal is good but you can't get Internet access?

  • Selina

    Hello Kirk,

    I've just got Apply support, it worked for 5 minutes before we ended the conversation and it started again. I do not understand why my ipad cannot get access the internet but my roommate's one does.

    Sometimes the wifi label says Wifi is out of range but my wifi router is next to me. I am really confused now. What did they tell you to fix the problem?

    Yesterday my ipad still worked well but now it's dumped.

  • Kirk Hiner

    They didn't tell me anything to fix it, unfortunately. It fixed itself, we laughed about it, and that was it.

    I'd try this <a href="at" rel="nofollow">">at Apple Support. If that doesn't work, it would likely be worth taking to the local Apple Store to let them take a look, if there's one nearby.

  • Shane McWilliam

    I have an ipad, no luck connecting to internet with Wi-Fi, and as yet I cannot find any support or help here in Australia, I have the same not charging when plugged into the usb port not bothered by that though, it is the internet I would like accessability to. Can anyone help?

  • Shane McWilliam

    Thank you Kirk, have played around with it, and the links with Michaels post are very helpful, though it now you can see that the WiFi is connected on the ipad, I still cannot access the internet through Safari or any other application. I shall just keep trying. As yet there is no help line here in Australia even through Apple so if trouble continue I shall have to wait until it's release in another month.

  • arnold

    how to setting 3g, please help me

  • AJH

    I had exactly this problem, i.e. Full wifi signal showing but no connection to the internet and all other wifi devices in the house working finr, including an iPod Touch.

    I simply unplugged my router, and plugged it straight back in and let it boot itself up, then reset the iPad via the red slider and all is working perfectly again :)