Owners of the new iPad have been reporting Wi-Fi issues for weeks. Well they can breathe (a little) easier because a new report suggests that the issue is a fixable software problem—not a hardware issue.

Computerworld consulted repair expert Aaron Vronko about the new iPad's weak Wi-Fi connectivity. Vronko says that Apple Support has been recommending people reset their Wi-Fi to factory defaults as a way to fix the problem. This indicates that rather than some hardware issue, the iPad's Wi-Fi problems are related to power-saving features:

According to Vronko and several tear-down experts, the new iPad features the Broadcom BCM4330 chip, which handles Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. That chip, new to the iPad, also is inside the iPhone 4S, which launched last October.

"[The Broadcom BCM4330 chip] boasts a new design including several new power-saving features," said Vronko. "Wi-Fi can be a hungry customer in mobile devices and Apple knew that the new LCD and its requisite monster truck GPU would be guzzling battery juice. They had to go aggressive on performance per milliwatt on every other component."

If Apple's software is to blame, the issue could be relatively easy to patch. That said, Apple hasn't yet publicly acknowledged any problems with the new iPad's Wi-Fi performance; however, the company is reportedly accepting exchanges for iPads with Wi-Fi problems. Without confirmation about what's going on, we're going to have to wait to see how Apple responds before we know for sure. [Comptuterworld]