Sunday, December 21, 2014

How's the new iPad Working For You?

You've heard the new iPad is a hot seller - moving 3 million units worldwide in its first weekend of sales.
But some of us early adopters have found reason to be concerned about the temperature. Under some circumstances, the iPad itself runs super hot.

How's the new iPad Working For You?

You've heard the new iPad is a hot seller - moving 3 million units worldwide in its first weekend of sales.

But some of us early adopters have found reason to be concerned about the temperature. Under some circumstances, the new iPad itself runs super hot.

I felt the heat on Saturday, sitting in the passenger seat as my wife steered us towards the Holland Tunnel and New York city. We had just two hours to kill before getting to the theater (the stage adaptation of "Once" - totally charming)  and needed to find a place for lunch near our favorite downtown parking garage. So I was searching for Soho-area restaurants on the iPad, clicking on this foody site and that, deploying the on-board 4G LTE chip and service of Verizon. The connectivity was blazing fast, truly "in a blink." But after half an hour of this constant searching and page loading, I realized the iPad had grown not just warm but really, really hot.

 I pulled the brand new tablet out of its protective, wrap-around iLuv cover, thinking "maybe that's why Apple only sells front-protecting covers and makes the back of the iPad out of heat-dissipating aluminum."

Even unsheathed, though, the tablet remained exceedingly warm to the touch, until I cut the power and let the device cool.

Apple has packed a lot more power consuming, heating generating tech into its new baby - a 4x higher resolution screen with a lot more LED backlights that produce noticeably whiter whites and brighter colors than on my old original iPad and just slightly sharper text resolution with existing programs, if truth be known. (The pixel count upgrade is much more apparent when you zoom in on a sector of a page view.) 

 There's also a doubly large battery and faster graphics processor working here. Yet I'm still not buying the argument that the heat I was feeling -  measured by others to be as high as  95 degrees Farenheit - is "within normal operating range" and thus, by implication, won't prematurely wear out component parts. That's the official line Apple's now handing out to complainers.

There are many posts on the company's iPad support forum confirming the heat issue. Some are buyers of the Wi-Fi only model, who've been pumping up the processor with extended video game play.

As a fix, several posters have suggested just letting the battery run down and then recharging it. And since doing so, I have not experienced the overheating again. I also haven't been tooling up the New Jersey Turnpike again, making that LTE chip work extra hard to connect to the Verizon network.

 Here at my desk, though, I ran through most of my 1GB monthly allowance by watching an hour's worth of that Sarah Palin docu-drama  on the HBO Go app. The movie streamed smoothly and the tablet stayed cool to the bitter end.

If you've bought one of the new iPads, how's it been going for you? Are you loving it? Disappointed? And if you have experienced a heat problem, did that recharging  of battery "fix" work for you?

P.S. Just got a missive from Consumer Reports. They've measured a plugged-in, Wi-Fi (but not 4G/LTE) enabled new iPad running at 116 degrees Farenheit after 45 minutes of uninterrupted "Infinity Blade II" game play. (That's Apple's showpiece for the new high res screen.) When running just on battery power, the same device heated to 113 degrees. CR found - as many others also have stated - that the heat seems strongest in the upper left corner when the iPad is being held in the landscape mode.  In my experience, a cover-wrapped iPad spread the heat evenly across the back. CR characterizes the temperature as "very warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period."

P.P.S. - Sharp was Apple's first choice to make the super high resolution screen for the new iPad, because it had an innovative tech  to squeeze pixels closer while  lowering  the panel's energy consumption 20 percent. But according to one industry analyst, Sharp had production "yield" problems, forcing Apple to substitute screens from Samsung (and maybe LG) which ostensibly hit the same pixel count but aren't as energy efficient. Maybe there's a correlation there with the excessive heat output?

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