iPad app glitches a fact of life

March 10, 2011 10:18 AM EST

I had just started reading David Pogue's column in the New York Times about how "The Appeal of iPad 2 is a Matter of Emotions" when a sudden failure of the NYTimes app on my iPad got my blood boiling.

The sleek iPad hardware and operating system environment may be cool as a cucumber, but glitches with applications are more common that I would have hoped for. Despite Apple's best efforts to control the user experience through its app store monopoly and rigid approval processes, glitches have been an ongoing fact of life. This morning I experienced them in spades.

About five minutes into reading the Times story the screen suddenly dimmed, the word "loading" appeared in the center, and music started playing. I waited. Then the music stopped. And so did the app.

So I fired up the Wall Street Journal app.

About five minutes into reading about  Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's bad week, the WSJ app suddenly stopped. Up popped a dialog. Stop the presses! I needed to download a new and improved version of the app. Immediately.

I'm not a big Windows fan but I will say this: When a vendor provides an application update at least I get to decide when to upgrade. The WSJ app update was apparently so urgent that it couldn't wait until I finished reading the story. I was annoyed but acquiesced -- only to have another problem surface. I like to call it the infinitely "updating" app icon.

Sound familiar?

My attempt to fail over to the BBC News app went better, but was not without a glitch. Watching news videos worked fine, but when I tried to scroll down through the written text of a story the app would inexplicably jump me into the adjacent story. I went in and out of the story several times, tried different finger motions, to no avail. I never finished.

I still love the iPad. But when I stepped inside Apple's walled garden I didn't expect to see so many turds.

Eventually the Times app self corrected. The WSJ app is going to require a reset. As for BBC News, I guess I'll have to wait for the update.

But please, next time let me decide when to download it.