Why I Returned My iPad To The Apple Store [Hint: iPhone OS 4.0]


As a contributor to Cult of Mac, you can probably guess that I’m an Apple fanboy. I showed up to the Apple Store at 5:45 AM on April 3rd (iPad Day for you civilians) ready to have my mind blown. Little did I know that I would soon be returning my iPad to that same Apple store.

I blame iPhone OS 4.0 and here’s why:

Initially I really liked the iPad. I thought it was cool and very easy to use.

I loaded up some iPad-only apps and had some fun. When Netflix and the ABC Player weren’t crashing, they were actually very nice apps. I imagine I was like every other iPad owner that week. I took it to work to show people there my new toy. I took it to the local Starbucks and tried the WIFI. I even took it to my local Macintosh Users Group meeting.

I was starting to fall in love with the thing. But like a rushed marriage, I was starting to wonder if I had done the right thing. Did my new iPad replace my iMac? No. My PowerBook G4? No. My Macbook? No way. It crashed on me when I needed it to be stable. My favorite iPhone apps looked like something out of a bad SNES emulator. Even the iPad optimized apps started at darn near $9.99. $10 for a single app? I started to have bad flashbacks to the Palm Pilot days when I had to buy Dope Wars.

Two days later when the iPhone OS 4.0 preview event was announced, I was still somewhat in the honeymoon phase with my iPad. Thursday marked the end of that honeymoon. Being a registered iPhone developer, I immediately started to see if the OS 4.0 beta preview was available when the keynote was over. I installed it on my 3GS and it immediately blew me away.

Sure it was buggy as hell but once you use OS 4, you will not want to go back. I can’t go into details as I refuse to violate Apple’s NDA; let’s just say OS 4.0 will not disappoint this summer. What was disappointing was going back to using the iPad running OS 3.2. Even worse was knowing that OS 4 would not be coming to the iPad until September.

OS 4.0 is so good that it was the single biggest factor in my decision to return my iPad.

I liked the iPad and luckily I did not experience the WIFI connectivity issues others have gone through but I did seem to experience every other issue. From the utterly brutal initial setup in iTunes, constant app crashes and the lack of killer apps, my experience with the iPad was not good.

As much as my Apple fanboy heart wanted to love the iPad, I was saddened to be so disappointed by it. I wanted it to do what my iPhone running OS 4.0 could do so easily. Just simple things like a unified inbox and email threading kept me using my iPhone while my iPad sat and collected dust.

OS 4.0 ruined my experience with the iPad.

Was I in line on the for the 3G iPad? Yes. Why? I’m a glutton for punishment!