An internal AppleCare document obtained by the site 9to5Mac indicates Apple is actively investigating the Wi-Fi issue. The complaints include problems connecting, slow download and upload speeds via Wi-Fi on the third-generation iPad released last month.
Apple says “symptoms can include, but are not limited to: intermittent connectivity, slow WiFi speeds, and WiFi network not seen.” Apple tells AppleCare employees in the document to ensure that devices they test are not facing these issues due to normal software bugs, but instead because of the actual hardware components.
It doesn’t appear the issue affects 4G LTE iPads thanks to the extra network power allowed by the black rubber cut on the top of the unit.
TabTimes first reported the Wi-Fi complaints appearing on Apple's forums back on March 21. Since then the discussion thread on the Wi-Fi issue has grown to over 800 comments as of today like this one from a user named It_cavemen who said.
“I had an ipad1 and no problems, ipad2 and no problems, ipad3 wifi is WEAK. Settings are the same as the ipad2. I am running a iPhone 4s and an i7 MacBook air on the same routers. I have two year old Apllt Airport Extreme, one at work one at home and there are setup the same. Only the iPad two give me wifi issues. All routers and devices have all updates installed. I even tried a dual band netgear router and all my stuff has great connectivity and range expect the iPad. If this is the trade off for the better display, it just not worth it and then new pad will be returned for refund. I'll give it a few more days to see if Apple release any updates that might help but for the first time the hype of the new device just hasn't stacked up.”
Apple faced similar criticisms over weak Wi-Fi performance two years ago after the release of the original iPad. Some of it was blamed on users with older routers, but Apple eventually issued a series of workarounds designed to address the problem.