We mentioned earlier that some new iPad owners were reporting issues with Wi-Fi. The problem seems to affect all models of the new device with both users of the 4G LTE model and the Wi-Fi-only model experiencing poor Wi-Fi reception. Many forum posters compared Wi-Fi reception with their other iOS devices and MacBooks on the same network:
“My iPad 3rd generation has much worse range than my iPad 1. Two places I use it most My Driveway, and “down the hall at work” iPad 1 (iPhone 4s, and Macbook) all have solid connections. New iPad nothing. not a thing.”
One user reports only receiving good reception within six feet of a router while another claims to have had issues with four different third-generation iPads. The good news is that the fix is likely software related, as many in the forums pointed to temporary fixes like rebooting the device or toggling Wi-Fi on and off. OS X Daily confirmed resetting Wi-Fi and network settings seems to fix the issue for some and provided instructions. In 2010, the first generation iPad had Wi-Fi connectivity issues for some users and Apple eventually issued a software update to fix the problem, which is detailed in this support document. According to Apple, only “a very small number of iPad users” experienced the issue and that seems to be the case with the new iPad as well.
A new patent application published by the US Patent & Trademark Office (via Patently Apple) today reveals Apple’s possible plans to radically change the implementation of antennas in future iPhones and other small form factor devices.
The majority of the patent describes a new composite material made up of a “foam substrate formed of a plurality of foam cells”. However, possible uses for the composite, as detailed in the patent, include a possible new antenna window on mobile devices. This would mark a huge departure from the antenna design in the currently shipping iPhone 4, which still relies on the antenna baked into the stainless steel frame. The same antenna that caused so much controversy regarding reception issues.
Patently Apple explains the potential benefits of the composite: