When Apple's handpicked stable of gadget critics reviewed the new iPad, they made sure to highlight that it could be used as a wireless hotspot.
But most failed to mention the tablet's other hot spot: the lower lefthand corner of the tablet, to be precise, which according to a growing number of customer complaints, can become hot to the touch, and even "too hot to hold," after use.
Frustrated iPad users have left more than a dozen pages of posts on Apple forums alleging that their new tablets are overheating. Consumer Reports confirmed Tuesday that the new iPad "can run significantly hotter than the earlier iPad 2 model when running an action game," and hit temperatures as high 116 degrees Fahrenheit during tests, or 12 to 13 degrees higher than the second generation iPad during similar use.
For most, the new iPad's hot spot doesn't make the device unusable, (Consumer Reports notes, "When it was at its hottest, it felt very warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period.") but it's nonetheless aggravated more than a few users (and created enough of a buzz to warrant a response from the usually comment-less Apple).
Most iPad reviewers made no mention of the issue in their reviews of Apple's latest tablet, and TechCrunch's M.G. Siegler, SlashGear's Vincent Nguyen and The Verge's Josh Topolsky were the only gadget reviewers in a group of ten who received the iPad ahead of its official launch to call out the iPad's hot spot.
"One other slight downside which I have to assume is related to either the battery or the LTE functionality is that unlike previous iPad models, the new iPad does get noticeably warm in the lower left corner after prolonged use. It’s never hot, just warm. But again, I never noticed this on other models," Siegler wrote.
Nguyen said he noticed the tablet heating up a bit in the same corner while processing HD video clips, though it was "Nothing anywhere near uncomfortable to hold," he noted.
The Verge's Joshua Topolsky also highlighted the iPad's heat in his review, writing, "I did notice the device getting a bit warm when I was using LTE for extended periods of time, but that's pretty common for most 4G products I've tested." When asked about the issue by a reader, Topolsky responded, "It does warm up a bit, especially on LTE. Nothing crazy. You couldn't cook an egg on it or anything. I did try a number of times, too."
Maybe it's nothing -- just a few sensitive-handed users looking for a crack, any crack, in the iPad's "slinky" facade, and a slight annoyance. Will anyone not buy the new iPad because of it? Already, a record 3 million were sold over the device's first weekend in stores.
When our own Captain Gadget asked Apple to respond to allegations of the device overheating, Apple merely said the iPad "operat[es] well within our thermal specifications."
But is it something you'd like to have heard from a reviewer? Let us know in the comments below.
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The Verge's Dieter Bohn found a small but "vexing" problem <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/14/2873026/new-ipad-facetime-lte" target="_hplink">while attempting to use FaceTime over the new iPad's 4G network.</a> "[A]ttempting to initiate a FaceTime call over LTE fails out with a message exhorting you to connect to a Wi-Fi network," he wrote. While it has always been true that FaceTime only worked on Wi-Fi and not over cellular networks, Bohn points out that this is especially annoying when you can turn your Verizon iPad into an LTE hotspot, which would allow you to FaceTime on other devices <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/14/2873026/new-ipad-facetime-lte" target="_hplink">but not on the iPad acting as the hotspot.</a> <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/14/the-new-ipad-review/" target="_hplink">TechCrunch's MG Siegler echoes Bohn's complaint</a> about FaceTime being available only via Wi-Fi, "despite the fact that the LTE networks are so much faster (faster than my WiFi even), Apple says that FaceTime will still be WiFi-only for now."
Reviewers found that enhanced apps and high-definition movies look amazing on the iPad's mind-blowing Retina display, but they noted with disappointment that non-HD content doesn't quite shine. According to Macworld, <a href="http://www.macworld.com/article/1165849/review_the_third_generation_ipad.html" target="_hplink">un-enhanced apps look super pixelated on the Retina screen</a>: "Non-Retina apps look more or less like they did on previous iPads -- but on the new iPad's Retina display those pixels really stand out." While <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/15/technology/personaltech/the-new-ipad-is-much-the-same-only-better.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&ref=technology" target="_hplink">the New York Time's David Pogue</a> calls the iPad "the world's first tablet that can actually show you hi-def movies in full 1080p high definition,</a>" he also notes that Netflix doesn't currently offer movies in high-def for the iPad, so many average consumers won't be able to enjoy all the new iPad's display has to offer.
While The Verge's Joshua Topolsky praised the video and photo capabilities of the rear camera <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/14/2870533/ipad-review" target="_hplink">he was less enthused about the front-facing module, writing:</a> <blockquote>Around front, you can expect the same basic quality of the last generation iPad -- which means it's nothing to write home about. It would have been nice to see at least a 720p shooter on the flip side of the tablet considering how hard Apple's been trying to push FaceTime, but you're stuck with VGA here.</blockquote>
Many were surprised that Apple's voice-activated assistant Siri wasn't one of the iPad's upgrades. A new dictation feature allows users to get around some of the problems that the device's virtual keyboard presents, but as Pogue writes for the Times, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/15/technology/personaltech/the-new-ipad-is-much-the-same-only-better.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2&ref=technology" target="_hplink">that's as close to Siri that the new tablet users will get</a>. Users will have to pour one out for the rest of Siri's features, including "the ability to set alarms, send text messages, look up calendar appointments and snag facts from the Web just by asking out loud," Pogue lists. SlashGear also laments the absence of Siri, <a href="http://www.slashgear.com/new-ipad-review-3rd-gen-14218465/" target="_hplink">citing it as the biggest omission in the new iPad. </a>
It's a good indication of how much the reviewers are loving the iPad <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/14/the-new-ipad-review/" target="_hplink">when one of the main complaints in TechCrunch's review is about a corner of the iPad that heats up after prolonged use.</a> After praising the screen and the speed, MG Siegler seems almost embarrassed complaining about one corner heating up: <blockquote>One other slight downside which I have to assume is related to either the battery or the LTE functionality is that unlike previous iPad models, the new iPad does get noticeably warm in the lower left corner after prolonged use. It's never hot, just warm. But again, I never noticed this on other models.</blockquote>
<a href="http://www.macworld.com/article/1165849/review_the_third_generation_ipad.html" target="_hplink">According to tests conducted by Macworld, </a>the enhanced apps consume up to three times as of the iPad's storage space as un-enhanced apps. MG Siegler worried in his review that the enhanced apps and high-definition movies, which "you'll obviously want" <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/14/the-new-ipad-review/" target="_hplink">will take up precious iPad storage space.</a> "On the iPad I'm testing out, I have three pages of apps, a few hundred photos, one HD movie, and one music album. It's really not that much stuff, but it takes up over 20 GB of storage. The apps alone are over 10 GB of that," he says.