Apple iPad: The five biggest annoyances

Apple iPad: The five biggest annoyances

Summary: There’s plenty to like about the Apple iPad, but there are also some serious annoyances that hinder the overall product experience. Here's a look at Jason Hiner's top 5 annoyances.


There’s plenty to like about the Apple iPad (see my business review of the iPad), but there are also some serious annoyances that hinder the overall product experience. Here are my top five.

5. The impractical screen

I’ll admit up front that I hate Apple’s glossy displays. The MacBook Pro that I use has the antiglare coating, even though it’s ridiculously overpriced as a $150 add-on. However, the glossy screen is one thing on a laptop, it’s another thing entirely on a touchscreen device that you are constantly putting your fingers on.

Gallery: Biggest annoyances from the Apple iPad

Within a few minutes of use, the iPad’s glass display gets fingerprints all over it and the screen is hideous to look it. Combine that with the fact that the glossy display has a wicked glare problem that makes it difficult to use outdoors and in office buildings with overhead florescent lights and it makes the iPad a much less enjoyable device to use if you don’t have a screen protector. I bought the Power Support Anti-Glare Film ($25), and it made a huge difference. This needs to be built into the iPad (and the iPhone, too, for that matter).

4. Docking in portrait mode

If you want to use the iPad as a laptop replacement, Apple offers a Keyboard Dock ($70) that allows you to sit at a desk and type out some serious documents and emails. However, the keyboard stand only works in portrait mode because the iPad only has a doc connector on the bottom.

This is a serious nuisance for a couple reasons. First, we’re all trained to work in landscape mode when we sit at a desktop or a laptop. And second, most apps that you’ll want to use when docked–email and productivity apps–are faster to navigate in landscape mode. Heck, Apple’s own Keynote app doesn’t even work in Portrait mode. It refuses to shift.

The best workaround for this is to buy an iPad stand like Griffin’s A-Frame ($50) or JaDu’s Skadoosh ($58) and place the iPad in it in landscape mode, and then use Apple’s Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard ($70) instead of the Keyboard Dock.

3. It’s awkward to hold

The first time you hold the iPad in your hands and quickly flip through some full-sized Web pages with a few flicks of your fingers, it feels great. It’s an especially liberating experience when you’re sitting on the couch or in bed at night.

The problem is that once you get past about 30 minutes, the device gets pretty heavy and then it gets awkward to try to prop it up against your legs or lean it against something or find a place to set it where you can comfortably get a good viewing angle (especially if you don’t have an antiglare film).

Then, it gets really awkward once you try to type on it. Holding it with two hands in portrait mode, it’s almost small enough to type on it with your thumbs like a smartphone. Holding it with two hands and trying to type in landscape mode won’t work because your thumbs won’t reach the middle of the keyboard (unless you have really big hands). In landscape mode you could hold it with one hand and hunt-and-peck with the other hand, but that’s too slow.

So, what most people seem to do is to put the iPad on a lap or a flat surface and then type like they would on a normal keyboard. At that point, you’re basically emulating a laptop, but the experience you get is not nearly as fast or natural. Apple’s official iPad Case ($40) helps a little bit since it folds into a stand, but it doesn’t take away all of the awkwardness.

2. Lack of Adobe Flash

Apple’s overzealous crusade against Adobe Flash (and Adobe’s whiny responses) are annoying enough. However, that soap opera has gotten so intense that it has almost begun to cloud the issue that a lot of very good Web sites have been rendered useless because of this little showdown.

The Flash issue is bad enough on iPhone, but most of users rely on apps more than the open Web on iPhone. The iPad is much more of a Web browsing device and the lack of Flash breaks a lot of sites with Web video, animations, analytics and reports, and creative designs.

It is a massive annoyance to try to do some work, browsing, or reading on the iPad, only to find out that one of the sites you need to access uses Flash, so you’re forced to put down the iPad and go sit at a desktop or fire up a laptop.

1. The PC umbilical cord

To do everything you need to do on the iPad, you still need to connect it regularly to a PC or a Mac. You have to connect in order to sync up your latest podcasts and media files. You need to sync to get OS updates. You need to sync in order to get your latest business documents on the iPad.

So what happens if you only want to carry the iPad–and no laptop–on a business trip? You’ll have to sync all of your files before you go. What if you want to download a podcast or a video while you’re on the road? You’ll have to do it manually through the iTunes app and hope you can catch a decent Wi-Fi or 3G connection. It would also be nice if there was an Ethernet dongle for the iPad, for when you’re in the office or at a hotel without in-room Wi-Fi.

However, for corporate users, the biggest problem with the iPad’s PC umbilical cord is syncing business documents. The iPad can be a great device for reading PDFs and long documents, but there needs to be better ways to transfer those documents to the iPad.

I’ve been using the third-party app GoodReader ($1), which lets you sync files through iTunes and it can even recognize, save, and view some files from the Web. But, it would be much better to have functionality built into the OS to let you save files from the browser or email to the device’s local storage or to a cloud service.

Photos of the iPad annoyances

To see photos of many of these annoyances–and a few more not listed here–click the image below to view entire photo gallery of iPad annoyances.

The iPad on the right is a standard model with fingerprints all over the screen, while the one on the left has an antiglare screen film. Photo credit: Jason Hiner

Source: TechRepublic's Apple iPad: The five biggest annoyances

Topics: iPad, Apple, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

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  • RE: Apple iPad: The five biggest annoyances

    I agree with Jobs, you don't want Flash running on an A4 processor. It packs a wallop on my 2.44 core duo!
    But, your right about one thing: The Glossy Screen. It is way over the top. It's the first thing you notice.
    • Flash on a 2.44Ghz core duo?

      Should not be a problem. My laptop doesn't even have a core duo and its running Win 7 and flash doesn't pack a wallop. Not to say that is doesn't crash here and there, but that is rare too and I suspect its the webpage code that may not be written correctly and I don't think Flash handles bad code very well sometimes.
      • RE: Apple iPad: The five biggest annoyances

        @daMan25 That's the problem, it works sometimes, and that's the experience you'll get.
      • RE: Apple iPad: The five biggest annoyances

        @OhTheHumanity <br><br>And you've learnt to accept the Flash crashing on your PC; and are tech savvy enough to identify the source. Joe consumer's iPad constantly crashes may very well cost Apple a sale when it's returned out of frustration. Someone needed to push Adobe.
      • RE: Apple iPad: The five biggest annoyances


        recently reading in the adobe forums a fellow was ranting about the Flash controversy and gave to examples. one site crashed my Browser (SeaMonkey, equivalent FF) and Finder as well. First time I've had a finder crash in more than 5 years. (Required a Restart of the computer). The other as long as I was going fro page to fine but if I wanted to use back button (I hate and don't use Tabs), All I received is black screen (the browser was working, just had that typical Background on all Flash websites. and if I moved forward then still blank screen.
      • @ Dave 95...Please, get off the kool aid and get real

        How many pc's have been returned "out of frustration" because of flash crashing?

        Not to mention, Apple's head-up-their-ass policies like "smoking voids your warranty" and "no cash accepted"...[b][i]you really think Apple would honor a return because a 3rd party app or plugin kept crashing anyway?[/b][/i]

        So what's the solution? Learn to live without Flash on whatever device? and wait around for a new set of standards to be adopted, web dev's to learn, then deploy? yeah, I think not. This isn't about flash, this is about Jobs forcing another vendor out of the market. Tell me (us), if flash is so bad (and yes, I admit it needs improving), why doesn't Apple kill flash (and adobe) on Macs and Safari?

        Me, myself, I can't recall one time that Flash has crashed on me, or any time that my pc's have been infected due to flash...of course, I don't nod and agree in zombie-like-fashion any time Steve Jobs says something either.

        you should check out Google's Vic Gundotra's keynote on the new Android o/s, not only does it blow iWhatever away, he makes a good point about flash (or any tech company for that matter) will sting a little bit, but it will be good for you;content
      • YouTube's NEW FLASH R/click Menu & Adobe Settings!

        @EVERYONE! A dramatic change in the FLASH Player on YouTube has taken place under most of our noses. Not just in how it looks, but in how both it and Adobe's Settings Manager now work under the hood. Few people are yet aware of how to work all of these settings, yet. If you are using Chrome Browser (Best Ever) it's simple to get to the Adobe page settings pop up from any web page (even without flash if you can find one). But, just click 'Tools' then 'Options' then 'Privacy' Clear Browsing data. Now at the bottom you'll see 'Adobe Flash Web Storage Settings'!

        The settings panel will open up on Adobe's site and you can clear, clean and manage Security and Browser settings easily now in 6 tabs. Few people realize what cleaning up with this tool can do for FLASH's performance or how you can solve problems you may be having (like here with ZDNet's settings).

        You can also right/click on FLASH content and go to advanced settings. BUT..... on YouTube, now when you R/click on a video, you have a whole list of options; Report playback issue, Take Speed Test, Stop Download, Copy Embed HTML, Show Video Info, Copy Debug Info, Settings (w/advanced settings under 2nd of 5 tabs in Mini Settings Panel) and then About Adobe FLASH PLAYER 10. This will also be on mobile devices w/ FLASH 10.1 including the Evo in June!

        There is improved Security in FLASH 10.1 (which Ed Bott can no longer complain about)! ....and with proper hardware, ACCELERATION that makes a dramatic difference in how FLASH plays on these devices that support it!!!

        BTW.... I just want to point out; that FLASH relative to the number of devices and platforms it runs on and the massive content provided on the web, actually has a better success rate than you could ever imagine. Think about it!.... you are continually faced with FLASH content and if you have it installed, many times you don't even realizes it's there. You only notice when it acts up and that most of the time isn't even the player's fault!
      • RE: Apple iPad: The five biggest annoyances

        @OhTheHumanity <br><br>recently reading in the adobe <a href="">forum</a>s a fellow was ranting about the <a href="">chat</a> controversy and gave to examples. one site crashed my Browser (SeaMonkey, equivalent FF) and Finder as well. First time I've had a finder crash in more than 5 years. (Required a Restart of the computer). The other as long as I was going fro <a href="">portal</a> page to fine but if I wanted to use back button (I hate and don't use Tabs), All I received is black screen (the browser was working, just had that typical Background on all Flash websites. and if I moved forward then still blank screen.
    • RE: Apple iPad: The five biggest annoyances


      The number of problems we get Flash Flash seems nothing compared to problems you get with any browser so I think the issue is mostly selling Apples technology
      • RE: Apple iPad: The five biggest annoyances


        And how many of those problems on desktop browsers do we see on the mobile iPad browser today? Hardly any.
    • RE: Apple iPad: The five biggest annoyances

      @wilsonhines@... <br><br>It's big at the Ministry of Defence here in Britain too, although in fairness I think it's only on machines that don't have a connection to the outside world <a href="">spor oyunlari</a> <a href="">ciftlik oyunlari</a>
    • RE: Apple iPad: The five biggest annoyances

      @wilsonhines@... To individuals flattered and empowered by marketers online who make information and purchases mere clicks away, the old 1.0 security bunker mentality of corporate computing seems stale and limited, and by comparison it largely education news and still is.
  • Stylus

    The only reason I don't have an iPad is the lack of a stylus for note taking. Hope to see one in the next release...
    • just buy one

      @dvm <br>there are a lot of styluses available for the ipad, working with note taking/sketching/illustration/whatever apps. google (or bing <img border="0" src="" alt="wink"> ) "ipad stylus" and be overwhelmed by the selection.

      again: there are plenty of styli (?) available for the ipad/iphone/ipod touch. and they are not thick, finger sized, they are normal pen-size.
      have a look here at the first video for an artist making amazing sketches with a pen on his ipad.

      ironically he was attending google's i/o conference which i though was all about bashing apple.
      banned from zdnet
      • Stylus

        I searched for stylus and what I found was a stylus more thick than my fingers. What I'm looking is a pen/paper experience, not hand painting.
      • RE: Apple iPad: The five biggest annoyances

        @dvm Use a Japanese chopstick. They are pointy, ridiculously cheap and they feel like you have a pencil in your hand, not a needle.<br><br>Also, if you are a careful sort-of-guy, use a ballpoint. It works just fine as long as you keep in mind that you are not trying to drill holes in the surface, but only touching.
        Bart B. Van Bockstaele
    • RE: Stylus

      @dvm :

      If you go to any Staples, or Office Depot/whatever, they sell Pens that double as stylii for things like the iPad, WinMo/Blackberry, etc . . .
      • RE: Apple iPad: The five biggest annoyances

        @JLHenry you can't use what most people call a stylus with a capacitive touchscreen. The typical stylus is for a pressure-sensitive screen, the old technology that was called "touchscreen" but is really a pressure screen. The true touchscreens require an electrical impulse and a larger surface area.
        Carlos Alvarez
    • You have a problem...

      The iPad utilizes a "capacitive" as opposed to a "resistive" touch screen. Capacitive screens require a change in the electrical field of the device, such as is created by your finger on the screen. Unfortunately, standard thin styii don't work, so you have to use a special capacitive stylus. The problem is that most are not fine enough for real note-taking.
    • RE: Apple iPad: The five biggest annoyances

      @dvm Apple is not going to give you a stylus, writing and drawing with a pen is two applications, and no one really gives a crap about it. Plus, there could be a hardware limitation involved where the touch can sense such fine points.