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Apple Stumbles with the New iPad

This just in… The new iPad (aka iPad 3) has its share of hardware issues. Gadgets are known to ship with all sorts of “bugs” — hardware and otherwise — but the new iPad is quickly becoming notorious for two major issues:

Some (don’t) like it hot

An infrared shot points to the CPU/GPU as the culprit

The first widely reported problem was what some call “heatgate”: the fact that the new iPad seems to operate at higher average temperatures than the iPad 2. 

USA Today: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/technologylive/post/2012/03/new-ipad-raises-questions-for-hot-climates-/1

CNET: http://news.cnet.com/posts/?keyword=iPad+overheating

Apple Insider: http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/12/03/21/thermal_test_of_ipads_a5x_chip_shows_operating_temperature_of_97_degrees.html

Apple Support forums: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3810951?tstart=0

While no one has reported burns, overheating gadgets can quickly become uncomfortable to hold. It’s annoying on a notebook and/or netbook, but more of an issue with tablets since users tend to hold them with bare hands. For example: Infinity Blade 2, the Retina-ready blockbuster by ChAIR Entertainment, can take temperatures up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit according to Consumer Reports.

No one knows for sure WHY the new iPad runs hotter than the previous models, but most point to the new A5X CPU/GPU combo. Repair Labs, for example, reports that the A5 chip in the iPad 2 is ceramic (perfect for conducting heat) but that the A5X is metallic, an inferior material. DisplayMate, on the other hand, blames the new iPad’s screen for the heat issues.

(router) Can you hear me now? (new iPad) Nope!

The iPhone 4 had the notorious Antennagate. The new iPad seems to have an issue with Wi-Fi reception instead:

Gizmodo: http://gizmodo.com/5895145/does-the-new-ipad-have-wi+fi-reception-problems

PC Magazine: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2401924,00.asp

Apple Support forums: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3812929?tstart=0

Wi-Fi reception is a big deal if you use your gadget at home, Starbucks and/or hotels. I often use my phone in the bedroom — away from the router which sits on top of our sub woofer in the living room. Lackluster WiFi reception would be a massive problem because it would prevent me from using my phone in bed.

(Verizon data doesn’t reach my Santa Monica apartment. I often read clients’ email messages in bed, in the wee hours of the morning, to make sure I’m on top of things)

No one knows what causes the Wi-Fi problem, but the press is starting to give this new “bug” more and more coverage. If this is in fact a real engineering flaw, it could become a nightmare for Apple.

Jobs’ absence to blame?

I got lambasted on Reddit last week for complaining about Apple’s use of the (invented) word “resolutionary” — a cheesy pun, really — and suggesting that Steve Jobs would have never allowed it. Redditors (correctly) pointed to me that Apple has used such puns before.

This, however, is much more serious. Did Apple rush the new iPad? Would another 6 months result in less heat and better Wi-Fi reception? I feel like Jobs would have NEVER allowed his engineers to ship the new iPad in the current state. Maybe he would have made sure it used a ceramic CPU/GPU combo. Maybe he would send the whole thing to the drawing board if the Wi-Fi antenna wasn’t up to snuff — i.e. achieving the same or better Wi-Fi reception than the iPad 2.

The original iPad, one of Steve Jobs’ most daring — and polished — creations

I can’t point fingers since I have absolutely no idea what goes on inside Apple. Maybe these are non-issues (like Antennagate). Maybe Apple did rush the new iPad to deal a death blow to Android tablets. Who knows? What we do know is that Apple has its hands full of new iPad hardware bugs, despite record-breaking sales over the weekend.

Apple stumbled on this one and I can’t help but think that Steve Jobs would have caught both issues and fixed them without any of us knowing about it.

Image credits:

new_ipad_heat.jpg / Slashgear

video / YouTube user GRE9DEL

iPad 1 / ZDNET

Filed under iPad new heat Wi-Fi wifi Apple overheating