Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hot not just in sales figures: 'new iPad' users complain of heat issues

It's something we've noticed ourselves as we've been playing with a "new iPad." The third-generation of Apple's tablet computer seems to run a lot hotter than prior versions. Can you spell "Heat-Gate?"

It's not as though it's going to burn you or give you "Toasted Skin Syndrome" as some superpowered laptops can, but it IS noticeable, just as the extra weight and extra girth of the new device are.

A little warmer isn't a big issue. However, there are reports popping up on the Apple support forums and elsewhere. One even said it got so hot it hurts to hold it.

Another said his new iPad displayed an overheating warning and shut down to cool off.

People saying their device felt hotter is subjective (a shutdown is not), but ran GLBenchmark for five minutes. Using its infrared cam, it was obvious the new iPad runs hot. Temperature-wise, the new iPad reached 92.5 degrees Fahrenheit vs. the 82.9 degrees Fahrenheit seen on the iPad 2.

Of course, that's a benchmark. When would you expect any computing device to get hottest? That's right, while gaming. Consumer Reports took a new iPad for a spin on Infinity Blade II, propped up on a Smart Cover, 4G off, wi-fi on. Ambient room temperature was 72 degrees, and the results were:
  • When unplugged, the back of the new iPad reached temperatures as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees hotter than an iPad 2)
  • When plugged in, the new iPad hit 116 degrees (12 degrees hotter than an iPad 2).
It's a typical scenario for a new iDevice: a few days after the release of a new iPhone or iPad, issues will be reported. Sometimes they are valid (remember AntennaGate and the iPhone 4?), but sometimes they are not.

Even if the concerns are valid it will take Apple some time to respond. For now, we have only the company's typically vague initial response, from Apple PR's Trudy Muller:

“The new iPad delivers a stunning Retina display, A5X chip, support for 4G LTE plus 10 hours of battery life, all while operating well within our thermal specifications. If customers have any concerns they should contact AppleCare.”

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