Apple probably wanted its newest iPad to be thought of as a hot item, but not like this.
Over the weekend, reports began to circulate that the newest iPad, just released on Friday, was becoming physically hot to the touch during use, specifically in the lower lefthand corner. Now, Apple has responded to these reports, issuing a statement to The Huffington Post, as well as AllThingD and The Verge. Here's what Apple had to say about its hot new iPad:
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.
(Translation: Chill out!).
Not everyone was satisfied by this explanation, apparently, as product review publication Consumer Reports launched an investigation into the new iPad's supposed heat problems. CR, which famously could not recommend the iPhone 4 based on a faulty antenna, published its recent findings in a blog post Tuesday afternoon, stating that the new iPad does indeed get up to 13 degrees hotter than the iPad 2, according to thermal images, when playing the graphics-heavy Infinity Blade II game. This corroborated an earlier report from Dutch blog Tweakers.net, which similarly found that the new iPad was running up to 10 degrees warmer than the iPad 2 in its own tests.
Throwing cold water all of the excitement, however, Consumer Reports writer Donna Tapellini says that though the new iPad hit 116 degrees Fahrenheit, this warmth is no cause for concern:
"During our tests, I held the new iPad in my hands," Tapellini writes on the Consumer Reports blog. "When it was at its hottest, it felt very warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period."
The tangible heat on the new iPad has been attributed to its larger battery and graphics chip. The iPad's new Retina display has four times as many pixels as the screen on the iPad 2 and reportedly necessitated a bigger battery in order to maintain the high battery life that the iPad 2 enjoys; that bigger, bulkier battery has apparently been enough to warm up the back casing of the new iPad, sending many new iPad owners to the Apple Discussion Forums to complain.
Of course, there are many more new iPad owners than there ever have been before, as these initial reports of iPad hotness have not cooled down demand. Apple recently announced that it had sold over 3 million iPads in its first weekend of availability.
Take a look through the slideshow (below) to see a few of the other minor problems critics pointed out while testing the new iPad. (Note, however, that critical responses to the new device were overwhelmingly positive. Click here to see what reviewers liked most about the tablet.)
The Verge's Dieter Bohn found a small but "vexing" problem while attempting to use FaceTime over the new iPad's 4G network. "[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 but not on the iPad acting as the hotspot. TechCrunch's MG Siegler echoes Bohn's complaint 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, un-enhanced apps look super pixelated on the Retina screen: "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 the New York Time's David Pogue calls the iPad "the world's first tablet that can actually show you hi-def movies in full 1080p high definition," 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 he was less enthused about the front-facing module, writing: 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.
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, that's as close to Siri that the new tablet users will get. 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, citing it as the biggest omission in the new iPad.
It's a good indication of how much the reviewers are loving the iPad when one of the main complaints in TechCrunch's review is about a corner of the iPad that heats up after prolonged use. After praising the screen and the speed, MG Siegler seems almost embarrassed complaining about one corner heating up: 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.
According to tests conducted by Macworld, 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" will take up precious iPad storage space. "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.