New iPad 'can run hotter' as Apple denies any problem

New iPad 'can run hotter' as Apple denies any problem

Summary: A leading consumer group, Consumer Reports, tested the new iPad after users had complained of increased warmth from the device. Here's what they found.

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While Apple continues to deny that there is a problem with the new iPad, stating that it operates "well within thermal specifications", one leading consumer group challenges that view completely.

Using thermal imaging, Consumer Reports testers found that the new iPad can get much warmer when high-processing applications and games are being used. In some cases, the new iPad "gets up to 13 degrees hotter" than its iPad 2 predecessor.

"The new iPad can run significantly hotter than the earlier iPad 2 model when running an action game," the report says.

The operating temperature for the new iPad is 32°--95°F (0°--35°C). Apple recommends keeping the device within this temperature range, and unless someone is using the device outside in Arctic conditions or in the blazing Mediterranean heat, then it's unlikely that these temperatures will typically be reached.

The report explains:

"We ran our test while the new iPad was propped on the iPad Smart Cover, plugged in, and after it had run Infinity Blade II uninterrupted for about 45 minutes. The device's 4G connection was not turned on, though its Wi-Fi link was. The ambient room temperature was about 72 degrees. (Apple recommends not using the iPad in environments over 95 degrees.)"

The same test was conducted with the iPad 2 for comparison. On its own, the device reached 113°F (45°C), and when the new iPad was plugged in, it reached 116°F (46.6°C).

I said yesterday that holding the device while it runs games or similar high-processing applications, to the point where the device would increase in heat, could be described as "uncomfortably warm".

However, Consumer Reports said: "When it was at its hottest, it felt very warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period."

What causes the heat?

Considering that during tests the new iPad did not have the 4G LTE connectivity enabled, it is highly probable that the high-speed mobile broadband capability is not the cause of the increased heat.

According to the thermal images, the hot spot is towards the lower-left hand side of the new iPad, around two inches above the corner. This is where others and I have felt the heat from the new tablet.

The darkened rectangular block in the new iPad is where the battery sits. Just above the battery is home to the logic board, which houses the Apple A5X dual-core processor with quad-core graphics; a significant upgrade between the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4S.

It is therefore extremely likely, as previously thought, that the beefed up processor and graphics chip is the cause of the increased heat in the iPad 2, particularly when the chip is being used for action games as described in Consumer Reports' tests.

One mystery solved, Scooby Doo. And Apple would've gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids.

Image source: Consumer Reports; iFixit.

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Topics: Data Management, Apple, Enterprise Software, iPad, Mobility, Software

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44 comments
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  • Deja vu

    Yep, and the iPhone 4 had no antenna issues either.. Apple... God love 'em. The easiest way to ensure 100% quality is just to ignore defects. At least the devices "look" cool..
    ddmattison
    • It didn't

      The iPhone 4 DIDN'T have antenna issues. At least no different than ANY other device.
      .DeusExMachina.
  • Don't worry

    CowLauncher, Pagan Jim, and Bruizer will be around to practice their apologetics routine any time now!

    For the record though, I am not seeing this but you better believe I will be doing more testing when I get home.
    slickjim
  • New Product Alert

    iGloves.. to be worn to protect your hands from a hot iPad. Cha Ching!!

    Seriously though I just wish Apple was big enough to admit that there might be an issue with one of their products. There is not a company on this earth that is perfect with their products but Apple seems like one of the worst when it comes to dismissing/ignoring complaints and issues like there is nothing wrong. To make matters worse there is a flock of fanboys that will come to their rescue to defend Apple when the evidence of the problem is pretty apparent. The are also the first to call an Apple competitor crap and stretch out or simply make up information to make the competitor issue look worse than it really is.
    bobiroc
    • Apple is quite blameless here

      "Apple seems like one of the worst when it comes to dismissing/ignoring complaints and issues like there is nothing wrong"

      While I haven't agreed with the way Apple handled things like antennagate, I will totally side with Apple on this one. This is no big deal.

      " The (Apple fanbois) are also the first to call an Apple competitor crap "

      This I totally agree with. For years the Apple fanbois have been telling us that we shouldn't buy x86 tablets because they run hot. Suddenly, the temperature of a tablet isn't important any more.
      toddbottom3
      • RE: Apple is quite blameless

        Well I guess we will have to wait until people start experiencing lock ups and freezes due to the heat. I can see that happening to those that keep and operate their iPad in a case. I have not experienced the problem first hand or know anybody that has so for now I will try and keep an open mind. My district just bought several for our Administrative staff and while I hope they will not be playing any games on the device since they are to be used for school related work only I will see how they run in our environment.

        If only I could get them to quit asking me to install Microsoft Office on their iPad and find them apps that can give them more "robust" functionality so they can do advanced formatting, task deligation and followup, and sharing of multiple calendars right in the email/calendars app amongst other things their full desktop software offer them.
        bobiroc
      • Agreed

        "Well I guess we will have to wait until people start experiencing lock ups and freezes due to the heat."

        I would still give Apple a pass if the iPad overheated while being operated under direct sunlight on a hot day. I expect electronic equipment to overheat under such conditions. I was very pleasantly surprised that my Kindle handled 100+ degree sunny weather without any problems. I highly doubt any tablet, iPad or otherwise, would have fared as well.

        "If only I could get them to quit asking me to install Microsoft Office on their iPad"

        I know that Kendrick believes the iPad is a 100% replacement for a laptop but I don't see it. I'm not faulting the iPad, it is the best tablet currently on the market (IMHO) but if companies think for a second that all this money they are spending on iPads is going to allow them to discard their PCs, I feel sorry for their shareholders.
        toddbottom3
    • I hear the iPad 4 will incorporate

      The Space Shuttle Thermal Protection Tiles into the design.
      William Farrel
      • Actually, just from an engineering POV, your facetious idea would work.

        I remember seeing one of those ceramic tiles placed in an oven and heated to temperatures - well, let's just say to temps far beyond what has been reported so far regarding "our" new iPad. In fact, the interior of this ceramic tile was still glowing a bright red. So what happened? Moments after being removed from the oven a technician picked the glowing red hot ceramic tile up in his bare hands. The outside surface was cool to the touch. Talk about the "One Ring to Rule Them All". Holy Frodo, Batman!

        Except for the brittleness and excessive manufacturing costs involved, the light weight ceramic material used in Shuttle heat tiles would be an excellent choice for a tablet case design.
        kenosha77a
  • It is not a defect

    It is not too hot, you are just holding it wrong!
    jimconnell@...
    • Yep

      See how well that works in all these situations! =D
      slickjim
  • not to worry

    You're just holding it wrong!
    timspublic1@...
    • Holding it

      Yeah, maybe it was not meant to be held or used just look good. If you want power your going to get heat!
      Rocketboiy
  • If Apple says burning your left thigh is within their thermal specs who are

    you to argue with them. Getting upset about it is probably what's making you think the retina display has an unnaturally weird yellowish tinge to it. Seriously though if you're having either of these problems do not wait, return it immediately before your return time expires. Your better off getting one of next batch that has these problems fixed than being one of the suckers that lives with a defective one for the next 2-3 years and then can't resell it for as much as one of the good ones. You paid top dollar for it and they didnt tell you about the problems which we all know they knew about. Return it and use your ipad2 for a bit longer and just wait for the next round of manufacturing.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Do you even pay attention?!?

      There is no "fix" for the yellow screen issue. You just have to wait for the solvents to dry. This is NOT a manufacturing problem.
      .DeusExMachina.
  • The Procedure

    Take a picture of that nasty burn with the new iPad3 5 megapixel camera and process it quick as flash with the new A5X Chip and then view it on your better than life like Retina Display.
    Then use your iPhone to call your lawyer.
    sickntired44
  • ok

    If by "blazing Mediterranean heat" you mean at the beach in the summer, then I think I get what you're saying.
    wendellgee2
  • Faster portable electronics produce more heat?

    I can't recall the last time this was big news, Apple truly is a magical company.

    On a side note, given that "thermal issues" are creeping into tablets, I wonder if certain ZDNET bloggers are sticking to their ealier prediction that tablets will soon be replacing desktops?
    oncall
    • You are right, the fact that faster chips run hotter isn't news

      What is news is that suddenly it no longer matters that faster chips run hotter. This always used to be a deal breaker when it came to x86 tablets. x86 tablets have faster chips thus they run hotter. No big deal, right?
      toddbottom3
      • Maybe I missed those discussions

        "This always used to be a deal breaker when it came to x86 tablets."

        It was? I always thought is was because x86 tablets, pre-iPad, generally sucked and were too expensive. Maybe that heat issue was just part of the whole "suckiness" package.
        oncall