Consumer Reports (CR) has released a report finding that Apple’s new iPad ran “significantly hotter” than the iPad 2. While that makes for a fine headline, the magazine buried the key part of its report, which was that, “at its hottest, [the new iPad] felt very warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period.”
“Using a thermal imaging camera,” the magazine wrote, “Consumer Reports engineers recorded temperatures as high as 116 degrees Fahrenheit on the front and rear of the new iPad while playing Infinity Blade II.”
“That’s within one degree of the 117-degree average temperature recorded at Furnace Creek Station in Death Valley, CA in July, Consumer Reports added dramatically.
The image below was published by the magazine to demonstrate the heat differences between the iPad 2 and the new iPad.
Source: Consumer Reports
CR said that it tested the device plugged in and propped up on Apple’s Smart Cover. The measurements were taken after running Infinity Blade II, a popular game on the App Store, for 45 minutes uninterrupted. The ambient room temperature was 72 degrees (Fahrenheit).
When measured in this configuration, the back of the device reached temperatures as high as 116 degrees, with the hottest section the upper left corner. That’s 12 degrees hotter than the iPad 2 tested by the magazine. When unplugged, it reached temperatures of 113 degrees, or nine degrees hotter than the iPad 2
Interesting, the report also claimed that the new iPad didn’t charge while the game was running, even though it was plugged in. According to the report, “In fact, the battery continued to drain. It charged normally, however, when we weren’t running a game.”
Our use at TMO since the device was released on Friday is that this isn’t the case, at least not when using the wall charger that came with the new iPad. When playing Kingdom Rush—a game that is not as graphically intense as Infinity Blade II—the new iPad charged just fine during gameplay.
Consumer Reports was not specific on how it was charging its new iPad, and it’s possible its results were related to the USB port into which it was plugged. Either way, we call balderdash on the claim that the new iPad won’t charge when playing a game.
Consumer Reports has a history of poopooing Apple’s popular iOS products, most significantly when it declined to recommend Apple’s iPhone 4 do to attenuation issues experienced by some users. Apple haters latched on to the report as proof that Apple’s devices were for idiots, while many Apple fan boys (and girls) decided that its stance eliminated the magazine’s credibility. Apple still sold as many iPhone 4 units as it could make.
The magazine also recommended Android smartphones over the iPhone 4S.
That said, the magazine has consistently rated Apple’s Macs, tech support, and warranty program very highly. That suggests there isn’t a blanket bias against Apple, and we’ll also point out that Consumer Reports gave the iPad 2 the nod over competing Android devices.
We should also note that there are complaints from users on Apple’s support forums who said their new iPads ran hot. The largest of the two threads has 318 replies, but many of those are from users who say that their devices don’t run hot. If this was a widespread concern, we’d expect many more complaints on Apple’s site, especially with the attention being brought to the issue by CR.
We’ll add that no one on TMO’s staff has yet to complain internally about our iPads running hot.
Still, the new iPad is just that, new. There are concerns about color on the device’s display, and there could well be a heating issue with the device. Apple is pushing a lot of pixels on the new iPad with a dual core processor that has a four-core GPU. It will take more time and more testing to know if there is truly an issue with the device, but from our perspective we doubt this will be the case.