Apple patents cooling fans for iPhones, iPads

By , Nov 8, 2012

Is there a fan in the future for the iPad or iPhone? That question is front-and-center following word Apple has filed to patent a fan to cool its popular mobile devices. The measure is seen as a response to criticisms that the iPad grows hot due to powerful processors and CPU-intensive tasks.

The patent application, entitled “Cooling system for mobile devices”, indicates a mechanical system comprised of fan, motor and an alert which potentially would vibrate the device. Because of the tight quarters, the motor would do double duty, driving both the fan and the alert, when required. Air intake and exhaust would likely employ an existing outlet in the devices, such as a headphone jack or the new Lightning connector port…

“It is unclear if Apple plans to use the invention in an upcoming iDevice, but it seems doubtful that such additional components can reasonably fit within the iPhone, which has become increasingly thin with each design evolution”, writes AppleInsider, which first uncovered the patent Thursday.

Earlier this year, consumers and testing groups found the new iPad running hotter than previous versions of the Apple tablet. According to Consumer Reports, the new iPad released in March operates at 116 Fahrenheit, 12-degrees warmer than the previous iPad 2. Like most issues now, the topic quickly was labelled Heatgate.

The reasons for higher temps are varied.

First, there is the introduction of LTE in the iPad 3, which includes Qualcomm’s RTR8600 chip that Apple placed under a thermal blanket. The new Retina display, while providing stunning graphics, also sucks energy like never before by requiring more transistors. The A5X chip also is one-third larger than the A5 used in the iPad 2.

The new processor also doubles the graphics cores for smooth gaming. If your iPad 3 starts to feel warm on its left side, its the A5X. Then there is the battery. To keep up with Android claims of longer battery life, Apple introduced a new battery  that is 70 percent larger than the iPad 2’s and provides nearly double the watt-hours as the previous version.

So, there is a need for some cooling method. The key is finding one that meshes with Apple’s ever-smaller designs and doesn’t detract from the sleek lines of the iPad.

What do you think?

Have mobile device requirements grown to the point where cooling is necessary – or are the complaints overblown?

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  • http://twitter.com/myorangeisstuck wahaha

    I think with high graphics and better processors in the future, the patent is legit.

  • glorin chiourea

    sometimes its needed…

  • http://twitter.com/Mrozzy123 OžŹŷ

    This is a must!

  • http://www.destroypixels.com/ Nicolas Arteaga

    maybe as an accesory, like an iPad cooling case would work.

    • http://twitter.com/applemacaddict Ben Bidmead

      Yeah, brilliant idea

  • kings121

    in the meantime apple needs to work on better battery life for their product

    • Irfan Tarique

      Lets add a mini nuclear reactor

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1332728607 Omar D. Plumey

      I get at least 10 hours of actual use on my iPhone 5. I have no complaints.

  • tony mongkhoune

    no please, i dun want loud noises and moving parts in my phone, but for a tablet, thats another story.

  • http://twitter.com/nmPraveen Praveen

    This is inevitable. Phones and tablets are becoming mini laptop.. One of the major problem of my dell laptop with intel Core i7 is overheating. As power of processing goes higher the heat dissipation is also getting high. Since processing speed are growing rapidly, companies failed to consider the heating side effects. I had to use an Air cooler to play games in my laptop.

    I’m glad Apple is thinking upfront in this area even though it doesn’t pose any significant use as of now. Although I don’t like the motion of patenting, its a good step for future product. It would be interesting to see how well they gonna compact a cooling fan in their ultra-thin products.

  • Irfan Tarique

    Looks like a headphone jack/cooling hole

    • Quang

      U r rights :)

  • Ff123

    I hope apple makes more changes to iOS like Home screen widgets.

    • http://www.destroypixels.com/ Nicolas Arteaga

      God, please no

      • Ff123

        Atleast they should have this feature and users will have option to disable it.. I would love it

  • http://twitter.com/Schryliam ‘’Stefan’’ ‘~’

    I think this is needed. Because when I play Modern Combat 3 for example, after a while of playing my device is gettin really hot, especially when the charger is plugged in, it’s even getting so hot on my iPod that I can’t hold it anymore.

    Didn’t try out on my iPhone yet but I expect it’s getting hot too.
    But to build in a fan, I don’t think that’s a good idea. First of all they are dust eaters. And because the most of us are not capable of making open our iDevice to clean it from the inside (Plus your warranty will fall) it doesn’t make any good. Second thing is your phone will be vibrating a little all the time, I think you will get used too but it stay very irritating. And last, your fan is so tiny that it almost don’t make any difference.
    And for a mobile product there isn’t a good solution for now.
    For computers you will have fans, liquid cooling, heatsinks. But for mobiles. I do not know what will work for that. Heatsinks can maybe. Very small ones but even when you have small ones. the heat has to go somewhere and a mobile phone doesn’t have holes to loose all that heat.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    i dont want a damn fan it will kill the damn battery