Where the iPad 2 lets you down: Top 12 complaints

The iPad 2 is the best tablet available, but it brings its own share of frustrations

I really like the iPad 2. I use mine every day for work and personal purposes, and I've even co-written a book about how to work it. But as good as it is, the iPad 2 is not perfect. Because I use it every day, I encounter its flaws and omissions every day as well.

Most of the issues are merely annoyances, but some have real consequences. Here are the 12 that bug me the most, in no particular order.

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1. Apps that go "pfft." Blame it on memory management or just poor coding -- I'm not sure of the cause. But some iPad (and iPhone) apps tend to quit unexpectedly. They're onscreen one second and gone the next, with a home screen acting as if nothing had happened. Some apps, such as the New York Times app, have had this issue forever. It happens with Quickoffice when you try to open a file that's too big or too complex to handle. The Economist's app recently started going "pfft" after an update.

2. Apps that downgrade themselves. A related complaint involves apps that downgrade themselves, reducing their capabilities after an update. Netflix's app did that a while back, making it fairly useless; more recently, Bank of America dropped multiple-account support from its banking app, and the New York Times dropped text-size preferences and its configurable sections icons -- why?

These downgraded apps also tend to require more steps than their predecessors, another bizarre decision in a mobile environment. I suspect the reason is that these are really native-wrapped Web apps (BofA and Netflix, for sure) that got turned over to a Web-only or perhaps Android developer unaware of UI and user experience (UX) concerns. Mobile apps require even more UX attention than desktop apps, a concept that few beyond the Apple crowd seem to understand.

3. Safari's premature refresh. To edit and write for InfoWorld.com, I use a Web-based Drupal content management system. Often, in the course of my duties, I need to switch to another browser window to look up something or to find and copy a URL. But often, when I return to the browser window containing Drupal, the page refreshes itself, and all my changes in the form are gone. This happens in other forms-based websites, not just our Drupal site.

I've learned a few tricks to reduce the occurrence of the premature refresh: Copy all text and URLs into the Notes app, then paste the whole shebang into Drupal (or whatever), and move the pieces around there. The refresh doesn't seem to happen if I have a JavaScript window open in Drupal, by the way. Although iOS 4 lessened this problem, it would make more sense if Safari let users decide when to refresh the page and kept the rest in the session cache.

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