Heatgate looms as Consumer Reports launches probe confirming iPad overheating

By , Mar 20, 2012

An influential United States consumer advocacy group Consumer Reports is investigating online reports describing overheating issues experienced by some owners of the new iPad, which went on sale last Friday to sell three million units during the launch weekend. The consumer watchdog also runs a monthly magazine since 1936 that features exhaustive product reviews widely accepted as credible.

A preliminary report states that the tablet hits 116 degrees Fahrenheit, or a whopping 46 degrees Celzius, while running graphics-heavy games such as Infinity Blade II. According to Reuters, Consumer Reports will publish its full findings this coming Thursday “after finishing a battery of tests”, per their spokesperson.

It’s interesting to note that Consumer Reports last Saturday published a quick review of the new iPad on its blog, proclaiming Apple’s device “the best tablet yet”

The crux of Consumer Reports’ preliminary findings:

When unplugged, the back of the new iPad reached temperatures as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit. It was only when plugged in that it hit 116 degrees. The hottest areas weren’t evenly distributed throughout the iPad’s back, but were concentrated near one corner of the display as shown in the images taken from the rear of the device above. So, when plugged in, the back of the new iPad became as much as 12 degrees hotter than the iPad 2 did in the same tests; while unplugged the difference was 13 degrees.

iDownloadBlog pointed this morning at a Tweakers.net article proving that the new iPad in fact runs ten degrees Fahrenheit hotter than its predecessor when its improved GPU found inside the A5X package is tasked with running standard GLBenchmark for a couple of minutes.

Indeed, a growing thread on Apple’s support forum is filled with customers claiming their device is getting hotter when playing graphics-intensive games or just used for everyday tasks.

Apple issued a statement today, saying that the new iPad’s temperature is “within our thermal specifications” provided on the company’s website. A company spokesperson told The Loop:

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.

Apple launched the new iPad last Friday in ten countries and is gearing up to drop the tablet in 24 additional markets this coming Friday, March 23. Analysts think Apple will move as much as 12 million units of the new iPad alone during the first quarter of this year, ending March 31.

It remains to be seen whether or not Consumer Reports’ findings snowball into another controversial topic for the Cupertino, California-based Apple. The company suffered a major PR blow when the Consumer Reports magazine argued shortly following the 2010 iPhone 4 launch that it couldn’t recommend the device over reception problems stemming from its unique antenna design. Their report was then picked up by blogs and major media outlets and blown out of proportion.

Hence, the so-called Antennagate scandal was born, forcing Apple to uncharacteristically summon select members of the press to its Cupertino campus, where Steve Jobs elaborated that signal attenuation is a fact of life in the smartphone industry and offered an olive branch to dissatisfied customers with free bumpers.

Can you say Heatgate?

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  • https://twitter.com/#!/alexjdz Alex Diaz

    46 degrees Celzius? Haha, nice.

  • Ashton Pal

    Please use spell check otherwise the credibility of the article goes down hill. It’s celsius, not celzius.

    • http://twitter.com/dujkan Christian Zibreg

      Fixed this typo, thanks for the heads-up

      • http://medialogic.posterous.com Jared Parmenter

        Well then someone changed it back… still says Celzius.

        The part I find funny is the phrase “116 degrees Fahrenheit, or a whopping 46 degrees Celzius, ” … as if the Celzius (sic) measurement was somehow higher than the Farenheit xD

        Disagree that blog typos detract from credibility, however.

    • http://twitter.com/Goldeneye03 ♎Goldeneye x03™

      Really credibility of the article goes down hill, I think it’s your criticism of the article that brings it down but your entitle to your opinion

      • Ashton Pal

        Actually, not to be rude, but using spell check, verifying sources and giving credit where credit is due are all important things especially on a tech site that frequently blogs about Apple and their products. If that is not done correctly, readers question the article. The same thing goes for writing a report or an essay. If you’re missing the important things, the quality of your work goes down.

  • Anonymous

    I ve had the same thin playing infinity blade 2 on my 4s, so that’s to be expected. I plug it in while playing just to stay at whatever percentage I’m on. I might gain 3-4% in an hour. This isn’t a new phenomenon. The new iPad does get warm but not blistering hot on heavy apps like this.

  • http://twitter.com/binarydivided Filip Langer

    What the fuck? 46C? That’s wayyy too much

    • http://twitter.com/So_Apropos Austin Lear

      46C is not actually that warm, most phones heat up while charging and I know it’s a longshot in terms of comparison but desktop/laptop CPU’s easily reach those temperatures when performing tasks, mine hovers around 45-50 with intense gaming and that’s with huge fans keeping it cool. Taking into account that the iPad doesn’t have fans I’d say 46C isn’t anything to get worried about, takes a lot more heat than that to overheat a cpu.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sandra.llerena.butron Sandra Llerena Butron

    the iPhone 4S also gets very warm while charging :S

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Augusto-De-Angelis/1602394106 Augusto De Angelis

    Could not apple sacrify a little the speed of the processor and gpu to have a more cold device? A little more time to design it better before release it for sale?? Better back plate insulation?? I returned mine. Way too unconfortable to hold it as hands become sweaty alot. Such a shame. I hope apple will improve it as it got a such nicer screen then the previous models.

  • Anonymous

    Why does no one actually say what is in the corner that’s getting hot .. Is it where the a5x chip is? Battery connector? What?

    Pic above shows whole thing hot but reports say one corner hottest.

    • http://adam.hbang.ws/ Adam D

      I looked on iFixit; in the light colored corner, it looks like it’s the 4G components.

      Ad@m

  • http://twitter.com/So_Apropos Austin Lear

    46C is not actually that warm, most phones heat up while charging and I know it’s a longshot in terms of comparison but desktop/laptop CPU’s easily reach those temperatures when performing tasks, mine hovers around 45-50 with intense gaming and that’s with huge fans keeping it cool. Taking into account that the iPad doesn’t have fans I’d say 46C isn’t anything to get worried about, takes a lot more heat than that to overheat a cpu.