I was hoping when reports came through of iPads getting “very hot” during use, that we’d all realize it was being blown out of proportion, just like every other Apple controversy, of course I was hoping in vain. “Heatgate” is being mentioned on just about every tech blog in the world, why? Because an Apple product is showing signs that it isn’t absolutely perfect. Unfortunately, the brand is expected to be infallible.
Thermal images posted earlier confirmed that the new iPad is warmer than the iPad 2 during use. Which – if we apply some common sense – is to be expected. More power = more heat. The display has twice the number of pixels to light up, which requires a much more powerful chip to run, which requires a more powerful battery. As we all learned in our science classes – more power = more energy. And when energy is used, the waste is given off as – that’s right – heat. Incredible.
Consumer Reports -the site which became infamous for refusing to recommend the iPhone 4 based on the death grip tests – got hold of a new iPad. The testers plugged it in to a power source, and started playing Infinity Blade II, with the WiFi on and 4G off. They did the same with the iPad 2 and compared temperatures.
“Using a thermal imaging camera, Consumer Reports engineers recorded temperatures as high as 116 degrees Fahrenheit on the front and rear of the new iPad while playing Infinity Blade II. That’s within one degree of the 117-degree average temperature recorded at Furnace Creek Station in Death Valley, CA in July… 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.“
So. Key factoids: it was plugged in (more energy going in) and it was playing for 45 minutes (lots of energy going out – see where I’m going with this?). And: “it felt very warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period.” So, even at the height of power travelling into and being used by the device, it still isn’t that uncomfortable to hold.
Ways to Respond
1. Don’t charge and play
Now, I’m going to risk sounding very cynical and sarcastic here. Firstly, the iPad has a 10 hour battery. That means that you can use it for the majority of the day without needing to refuel. Logic dictates that you shouldn’t need to charge it while playing Infinity Blade II. In fact, having a cable going in to your device’s dock connector port often gets in the way of gaming anyway. So, charge it at night or when you’re not using it. I figured a long time ago that my devices tend to get warm while charging, so, I leave them to it and pick them up when they’re done.
2. Get a case
If – for whatever reason – the way you use your iPad means you need to have it plugged in while playing an action game and it gets a little too warm, get a case for it. There are plenty of plastic shells, Folios, skins etc, that should help to protect your sensitive fingers from being scalded by the searing 116 degree heat.
3. Get an iPad 2
So, the iPad 3rd gen gets a little too warm for comfort. Simple, take it back to the store and swap it for the older model. Yes, you lose some pixels on the camera, and graphical quality on the display, but you gain a much cooler tablet. Obviously, the temperature of the device is the most important thing here.
You can head over to Apple’s support forums or retail stores to complain, where they will tell you to check out number 1 on my list, or inform you that you can happily take it back and get a refund, or swap it for an iPad 2. So you’re clear: Apple will not wave a magic wand, and mail you a pixie-dust powered chip to install in to your new iPad, enabling it to defy the laws of physics.
Someone’s bound to, it may as well be you. You can be that guy or girl that gets his/her name in the tech blogs because you couldn’t handle an iPad that got a little warm.
And if you’re an Apple hater…
6. Use it as a reason to buy an Android tablet
Yes, you are that Apple hating, Android nut who uses any reason you can think of not to try an iOS device. This just gives you more trolling fuel. “Ha, so what, you have 200,000 apps available and the best display on a mobile device. My tablet is 5 degrees cooler than yours. Stupid iSheep.” Or something to the effect of…
7. One serious and genuinely sarcasm-free suggestion
In all seriousness, there may well be cases of some iPads genuinely overheating. In this case – and without being rude or cynical – your best option genuinely is to take it to your nearest Apple store and see if what they can do. You may have picked up a faulty tablet, that runs inefficiently. You can also try draining your battery to nothing and charging it up again, to get it refreshed a little. (Some report that this method works well.)
Tweet me: @TiP_Cam, with your thoughts on this.