The 10 Worst Things About the iPad

frustrated-ipad.jpg
Getty Images / Mauro Grigollo

The iPad isn't perfect, as evidenced by a new iPad and new version of the iOS operating system issued each year. And while it is quite easy to list out the best things about the iPad, it isn't difficult to list some of the worst things about it. Oddly enough, some of the features that make the iPad so good are also some of the things people complain about. Here are the top 10 most annoying things about the iPad.

1. Difficult to Upgrade or Expand

This one is true of most tablets, but it is especially true of the iPad. In the world of PCs, upgrading is standard. In fact, simply upgrading the memory on a PC can extend its life by a year or two, and running out of space on the PC doesn't always lead to deleting software to make room when expanding storage space is an option.

The lack of a true USB port makes the idea of upgrading the iPad even tougher. While many Android tablets can expand their storage space via a thumb drive plugged into a USB port, the iPad's only good options are cloud storage like Dropbox and Wi-Fi-compatible external hard drives.

2. Single User Ownership

The iPad is a great family device except for one nagging issue: it's not built for a family. It's built for an individual. There are a lot of great parental controls built into the iPad, including limiting apps based on age and disabling in-app purchases, but any restrictions you put on your iPad to protect your toddler (or to protect your device from your toddler), you'll have to live with yourself.

A multi-account system that allowed you to log in as your toddler when you wanted restrictions or log in as yourself when you wanted to disable them would be perfect for one device families. Unfortunately, Apple doesn't want one device families. They want multi-device families, so instead of giving us multiple accounts for a device, they are giving us family sharing, which falls into the one-device-per-person mentality.

Don't get me wrong, family sharing is great... if each member of the family has their own iOS device. But if you want a family iPad, you are out of luck.

3. No Access to the File System

Cloud storage is making this less important, but it is still a nice feature most Android tablets have that iPad still doesn't. At their core, iPad apps device their files into private files that are meant to be used by the app alone and document files that can be modified and shared.

While there are reasons why Apple keeps this documents folder locked down -- not the least of which is protection from malware such as viruses -- it would certainly be a nice option to have access to those files.

4. No Custom Apps for Tasks

It is common in the PC world to tie tasks to specific software. For example, if you use Microsoft Office as your office suite, word processor documents will open in Word, but if you use OpenOffice, they will open in OpenOffice Writer. And while the ability to use custom apps for tasks is less important when the file system is closed, it could still lead to some handy features, such as an app that simple turns Bluetooth on and off.

The iOS 8 update will finally allow third-party substitutions for the built-in keyboard, so hopefully, more flexibility in this area is coming.

5. Too Many Nag Screens to Upgrade

Apple loves to brag about how quickly users upgrade to the latest version of the operating system.  What they don't tell you is how much nagging they do to get their customers to upgrade.  Any time a new update is available, the iPad will constantly prompt you to either upgrade now or upgrade later.   If you choose to upgrade later, you'll find the same dialogue box popping up almost every time you use the device until you finally relent and update the iPad.  

Keeping your iPad up to date is important.  Keeping your customers from being too annoyed should be equally important.

6. Poor Photo Management

Apple's first attempt to manage photos via the cloud was called Photo Stream, and it has already fizzled out.  iCloud Photo Library replaced Photo Stream, and unfortunately, it isn't much better.  While iCloud Photo Library does a good job of syncing your photos to the cloud, it is difficult to download those photos on a Windows PC despite Apple's claims to the contrary.  Worse, any device with iCloud Photo Library turned on automatically uploads all photos to the cloud.   It would be nice to turn it on for photo viewing without it automatically uploading all photos.  

7. Freemium Games/Apps

The inclusion of in-app purchases has given rise to the "freemium" model, which is especially popular in games. And while some games get the model right -- you won't miss out on anything if you don't buy in-app purchases in Temple Run -- too many games are designed specifically to gouge you with purchase request after purchase request. And the worst are pay-for-time models, where you can only play the game for a small amount of time each day unless you buy extra time from the store.

The worst part of these games is that it would be cheaper to just pay $2.99 or $4.99 for the game than to be nickeled and dimed with $.99 purchases here and there. This has led to publishers like Gameloft making some really great games that are hogtied by a horrible freemium model.

8. No HDMI Out

There are plenty of ways to connect your iPad to your TV, including buying an adapter that turns the 30-pin or Lightning connector into an HDMI port. But why should we need to buy an adapter at all? With so many fantastic ways to stream movies and TV, it would be great to have an HDMI port built into the iPad to make connecting it to a TV that much easier.

9. No IR Blaster

Speaking of TVs, one really nice addition to the iPad would be an IR blaster. IR blasters are used to control devices that use infrared for communication, such as your TV or home theater system remote. The iPad would make a great customizable remote control for devices -- if it could talk to them.

10. Too Little Customization

This is an area that Apple is improving, but they still have a ways to go. Currently, the main way you can customize your iPad is to pick out a custom background for your home or lock screen and choose personalized sounds for things such as an incoming email message or sending a text message. You can also add third-party keyboards and have the ability to add widgets to the notification center, but a little more customization would be great.