Shades of the iPhone 4? Two weeks after its launch, some reported issues with Apple's new iPad are raising questions about whether this product release should be compared to the uproar that accompanied problems with the company's iPhone 4.
On Wednesday, Consumer Reports released a preliminary report, which found that the new tablet can heat up to as much as 116 degrees when plugged in and running games. This is 13 degrees hotter than the previous iPad 2. Unplugged, it hit 113 degrees.
'Not Especially Uncomfortable'
The Consumer Reports engineers used a thermal imaging camera while playing Infinity Blade II. They conducted the testing in response to complaints from users in community forums about the heat generated by the new device.
Apple recommends not using the iPad in environments hotter than 95 degrees. But the faster graphics and a larger battery have raised questions about whether there is a design or manufacturing flaw.
In its preliminary report, Consumer Reports engineer Donna L. Tapellini noted that the ambient room temperature for its testing was 72 degrees. She said the new iPad "felt very warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period."
In a statement, Apple said the new product operates "well within our thermal specifications."
The widely followed Consumer Reports had rated the iPad 2 as the best in the tablet category. But the same magazine posted a few weeks after the iPhone 4's launch in the summer of 2010 that it could not recommend that device because it had confirmed a problem with the wireless reception, a problem about which users had been complaining.
At first, Apple had been suggesting that the signal-strength issue on the iPhone 4, which occurred when a user placed a hand or finger near the antenna on the lower left side of the device, was largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software that mistakenly showed more bars "than it should for a given signal strength."
But Consumer Reports wrote in its non-recommending review of the iPhone 4 that "it's the company's responsibility to provide the fix -- at no extra cost to consumers." In a hastily called news conference following the Consumer Reports evaluation, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the company would offer a free bumper case to every iPhone 4 , a refund for any case already purchased, or a full refund for the return of an undamaged iPhone 4.
Is the Heat a Problem?
The heating in the new iPad may not turn out to be as much of an issue with users as the reception was for the iPhone 4. But there are also reports of Wi-Fi connectivity issues with the new iPad. Dozens have indicated that in locations with a good Wi-Fi signal, the iPad is not receiving the signal as well as other devices do.
Last week, for instance, a user named stlsteve wrote on the Apple Support Communities forum that, in a hotel with his new laptop and new iPad, "the laptop wifi reception is as strong as it gets, but the iPad only registers a weak signal." Another user reports that the iPad 2 "has twice the wifi range with the same settings" as the new iPad.
Avi Greengart, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, said that the Consumer Reports testing showed that the heating "isn't an issue." He added that, unless there are reports that the overheating causes the device to stop working or has some other significant consequence, the mere fact that "an electronic device can get warm" is not going to be a problem.
As for the reception complaints, Greengart said he personally has "not experienced this," but, if there is confirmation that it occurs, it could be a problem that will have to be addressed.
Posted: 2012-07-04 @ 5:19am PT
The wifi range issue on the new iPad (3) is a real pain. I was really annoyed when I tried my new toy and this happened to me. I spent quite a bit of time researching, for a solution, with no luck. All of the methods I found didn't work for me. Finally I landed on a review of a case from Pong Research. They produce these really interesting cases that have an antenna in between layers of the back cover, which redirects and boost the wifi signals into/from the antenna built-in the iPad, this fixes the new iPad 3 wifi range issues
. And that's not all, one of the features I like the most is their Origami Cover which folds in 5 different positions while still maintaining the sleep/wake function.