iPad: Before the Backlash

5:30 PM -- There's bound to be a backlash -- either from the media, users, or both -- against the iPad soon enough, even if that that doesn't usually mean enough to the mobile masses that they will actually stop buying Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) products.

It is as night follows day: An Apple product gets sent into the world to delirious hype and -- eventually -- people get annoyed with one or another aspect of it.

For my money, it is network problems with the 3G iPad that are likely to cause a backlash sooner rather than later. Let's conservatively suggest that iPad users consume double the data of the average iPhone user (some suggest it will be far more). This means that a million 3G iPads sold will be equivalent to adding 2 million phones to the network. How many 3G iPads is Apple likely to shift this year? Given the sales so far, we have to expect that there will be millions of iPad users on the network by the end of the year.

Will AT&T's network upgrades be enough to cope? Does it have a plan to deal with iPad traffic? If it does, it isn't saying anything new right now. I know, I've asked.

Still, the backlash could also come from lack of access to applications. Or some as-yet unforeseen technical difficulty could inspire a backlash. Still, there's bound to be some complaints down the line -- that's just how things are with i-prefixed objects of desire.

So, with that hefty disclaimer out of the way, let's reflect on how remarkable it is that Apple has managed to popularize an entirely new segment of mobile devices in less than a month. I mean, wow, one million iPads sold in 28 days!

It can only be good for Apple, its carrier partners, and other device vendors looking to horn in on the action. The folks out of Cupertino have taken a format that was considered DOA, kicked it into life, and given wireless operators a whole new stream of devices to make money off.

And they've done this at the worst of times: in a recession that we may be "coming out of" in a statistical sense, but it absolutely doesn't feel like that in everyday life. Pretty amazing to create something so remarkable that people had to drop several hundred dollars just to have one.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:37:14 PM
re: iPad: Before the Backlash

Another complaint I've heard is that the iPad is overwhelming Wi-Fi networks, at least on college campuses. Princeton and George Washington University banned them on campus for that reason. I'm very curious to see reports on how AT&T's 3G network is handling it given that even Wi-Fi is having trouble already.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:37:13 PM
re: iPad: Before the Backlash

Does that mean that people are not using wi-fi based laptops in any quantity?  Or (which may be the culprit) that people are using wifi to do many things to set up and experiment with their ipads and the actual data usage will decline on a per item basis for a bit?



embeddedcguy 12/5/2012 | 4:37:09 PM
re: iPad: Before the Backlash

The reason several colleges banned iPads is because they were causing duplicate IP addresses on their networks.  If a DHCP lease expired while an iPad was asleep, after waking up it would continue to use that IP address without renewing it.  If the network had reassigned that IP to another device in the meantime, both devices and several routers would puke.

It will be the phone networks that collapse under the load, not wi-fi/ethernet.  If people use their iPads primarily on wi-fi networks, I don't think the 3G load will be a problem.  The iPhone is definitely used a LOT out of range of wi-fi, I'm not so sure the iPad will be.  It's not quite a mobile.  An iPhone is still easier to prop up on my dash to get turn-by-turn directions.

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