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Consumer Reports promises check into iPad heat issues [u]

updated 03:45 pm EDT, Tue March 20, 2012

LTE, battery, processor among possible causes

(Updated with results) Consumer Reports is looking into anecdotes of third-gen iPads running unusually hot, Reuters reports. The publication says it will announce results on Tuesday after conducting a series of tests. While not everyone with an iPad has noticed the problem, affected iPads may grow several degrees hotter on one side, making it uncomfortable if still bearable to hold.

A few potential causes have been suggested by iPad owners, such as the LTE radio or the tablet's A5X processor. The CEO of iFixit, Kyle Wiens, argues that because the battery in the new iPad is 70 percent bigger but offers the same battery life (up to 10 hours), it will naturally generate more heat. Apple has so far dismissed concerns, pointing out that the iPad functions "well within" official thermal specifications.

Consumer Reports has otherwise been positive about the new tablet, claiming that it's "shaping up as the best tablet yet." The magazine has sometimes been critical of Apple in the past, most famously spurring the "antennagate" controversy which led Apple to hand out free cases to iPhone 4 owners.

Update: The results of testing are in, and Consumer Reports suggests that the new iPad can potentially run as hot as 116F, even higher than the 92.5F reported in benchmarking elsewhere. The figure is also above the 95F ambient maximum stated by Apple, and 13 degrees hotter than an iPad 2 when running Infinity Blade II for 45 minutes. For the purposes of testing, the new iPad was propped up with a Smart Cover, and had LTE turned off but Wi-Fi turned on in a room with an ambient temperature of about 72F.

Despite the excessive heat, CR says the hardware continued be usable. "When it was at its hottest, it felt very warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period," the publication writes. A more serious issue may be battery drain, as even though the iPad was plugged in, the battery kept draining so long as Infinity Blade II was running. Stopping the game resumed normal charging.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. macnnoel

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005


    suck it CR!

    heatgate, here it comes!

  1. Jubeikiwagami

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2011


    Need the hits

    CR needs the hits and attention. I think most of their readers are 72 years or older. They need fresh meat to join their stupid rag. lol

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Jul 2004


    Someone needs a refresher

    On the and the law because all of that energy drained from the battery has to be "transformed" into another form which is usually heat.

  1. SMacSteve

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Aug 2001



    We can rest easy now. Consumer Reports is on the case. Whatever!

  1. chas_m



    Some misconceptions

    The 95-degree upper limit of Apple's recommended usage for the iPad applies to OUTSIDE environment, not internal processor temperature. Processors routinely run hotter than 95 degrees F -- indeed, that wouldn't even kick on the fans on my MacBook. In fact, a quick check shows that the CPU is running at 140F with very quiet fan activity.

    Apparently CR doesn't understand that the metal gets warm because it is DISPERSING heat, iow doing exactly what it should be doing -- keeping the iPad cool. That you can run Infinity Blade for 45 minute and get it up to those temperature and the thing keep right on plugging along proves that the system is working as it should. Much ado about nothing at the end of the day.

  1. AlenShapiro

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2000


    Not the problems you're looking for...

    Apple is using a battery with twice the wattage-per-hour, fully discharging in the same amount of time. I suspect that most of that energy gets converted to heat in the quad-core GPU and lighting up all those extra pixels. Unit surface temperature is proportional to energy pumped in per unit area minus dissipation per unit area (at a given ambient temperature).

    Since iPad2 and 3 materials are basically the same and the dissipation area is about the same, the double energy pumped in has to result in a hotter case comparing iPad2 to 3.

    Apple says it's within spec. so it comes under the category of "nothing to see here". Normal "care and feeding of your computer" rules apply however. Don't work with your iPad buried in a nice comfy insulating pillow. Give it access to reasonable airflow. Don't let it cook your lap etc. etc.

    Could be one reason why you won't see a 7" with similar spec. any time soon. Might be waiting on more efficient processors and screen technology.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001



    The iPad runs hot, but it isn't a flaw or a problem. It's a feature! It's OK, because the laws of thermodynamics say its OK!

    Unless it's a Windows or Android tablet. Then its a major issue that should prove they're useless as competition.

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