Apple Inc.'s iPad isn't having an easy time during college admissions season.
The tablet, lauded by many as the next wave in education technology, is having difficulty being accepted at George Washington University and Princeton University because of network stability issues. Cornell University also says it is seeing connectivity problems with the device and is concerned about bandwidth overload.
Such issues could be a blow to Apple, which has gone after the higher education market by highlighting the iPad's portability and availability of electronic books. But students may not be willing to pay $499—or more, depending on the type of iPad—if they still need a desktop or laptop computer to check course assignments or email. Some higher education insiders also worry there isn't enough educational content available via the iBookstore application to eliminate expensive physical textbooks.
George Washington said earlier this month its wireless network's security features don't support the iPad—or iPhone and iPod Touch, for that matter. Princeton on Wednesday said it has proactively blocked about 20% of the devices from its network after noticing malfunctions that can affect the entire school's computer system. Princeton is working with Apple to resolve the issue, according to a statement on the school's Web site.
Cornell's information-technology director Steve Schuster said via email last week that the school is seeing networking and connectivity issues and is "working to ensure the iPad does not have devastating consequences to our network." Mr. Schuster added that when the iPhone arrived on campus it overwhelmed the network's bandwidth capabilities.
The colleges all say they are trying to find fixes to the problems. George Washington has said it could take until next spring before the iPad operating system is fully supported on its network.
Apple spokeswoman Teresa Brewer said she wasn't familiar with the schools' problems. The company sold more than 500,000 iPads the first week the product was in stores.