This morning we brought you news that Apple’s new iPad operated at a higher temperature than its predecessor, the iPad 2. Following complaints from users, a Dutch site took a new iPad and an iPad 2 and put them side-by-side under an infrared camera. The new iPad measured just under ten degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the iPad 2.
Apple issued a response to reports of the new iPad’s higher temperature, saying that the “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.” They suggested that customers who were concerned about the new iPad’s temperature should contact AppleCare.
Now, though, it looks like a 10-degree difference may just be the tip of the iceberg. Consumer Reports has done their own tests on the new iPad, and they found that under certain situations the new iPad can significantly exceed the “thermal specifications” given by Apple (32-95 degrees). They found that when the processor is under a heavy load – e.g., gaming or downloading – the new iPad can exceed the iPad 2’s temperatures by as much as 13 degrees.
Consumer Reports ran their test in a 72-degree room with their iPad propped on its Smart Cover with 4G off and wi-fi on. They plugged the iPad in and ran Infinity Blade II for 45 minutes. When not plugged in, the iPad’s back panel reached 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Plugging it in bumped the temperature up to 116 degrees. The heat was concentrated along the lower right side of the tablet, where the processor sits.
The testing also found that gaming prevented the iPad’s battery from charging. The battery level continued to drop during gameplay. Though Consumer Reports does not say so, this probably suggests that games – particularly graphics-intensive games – use battery power faster than it can be replenished by charging.
Meanwhile, iPad users have continued to add to threads on this topic on Apple’s discussion forums. There appear to be a significant number of iPad users having this problem, with some experiencing the same kind of temperatures Consumer Reports found. One user notes that Apple’s “thermal specifications,” 32-95 degrees, refers to the environment in which the device is used, rather than the temperature limits for the device itself. It is not clear whether the temperatures Consumer Reports observed are potentially harmful for the device. I contacted Apple to request clarification on that point, but they have yet to reply.
What do you think? Have you noticed problems with your iPad getting too hot to handle? Let us know in the comments.