New iPad Runs Hot: Consumer Reports

Apple's new iPad operates at temperatures as high as 116 degrees Fahrenheit, says Consumer Reports. That's significantly higher than the iPad 2.

Apple€™s new iPad operates at higher temperatures than the iPad 2 when running a processor-intensive game, according to a new test by Consumer Reports.

The watchdog group aimed a thermal imaging camera at a new iPad playing Infinity Blade II, and recorded temperatures €œas high as 116 degrees Fahrenheit.€ Ambient temperature in the room was 72 degrees. The testers played the game uninterrupted for about 45 minutes before utilizing the camera.

Consumer Reports tested the new iPad both unplugged and plugged, and activated the WiFi but not the 4G connection. €œWhen unplugged, the back of the new iPad reached temperatures as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit,€ read the group€™s March 20 research note. €œIt was only when plugged in that it hit 116 degrees.€ Nor were the hot zones evenly distributed across the back of the device, but clustered in a specific area to the left side.

€œWhen it was at its hottest, [the new iPad] felt very warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period,€ the note continued. €œWe also noticed that the new iPad wasn€™t charging while the game was running and it was plugged in.€ Only when the testers stopped playing the game did normal charging recommence.

The iPad 2, subjected to the same tests, ran between 12 and 13 degrees cooler than the new iPad.

This wouldn€™t be the first time Consumer Reports has picked apart an Apple device; the group once refused to endorse the iPhone 4 over its much-publicized antenna issues. But it€™s likely that the new iPad will attract high marks from them, with a March 16 report noting that the device €œis shaping up to be the best tablet we€™ve ever tested, whether from Apple or any other manufacturer.€

The new iPad (Apple has so far declined to give it an official name along the lines of €œiPad HD€ or €œiPad 3€) features a high-resolution €œRetina Display,€ an improved camera and processor, and comparable battery life to its predecessors.

Apple claims it sold some 3 million new iPads in the first weekend of release. By comparison, it took the first iPad some 28 days to sell 1 million units. One analyst believes that the company could end up selling around 66 million iPads this year.

€œDue to the strong launch we are raising our [calendar year 2012] iPad estimates from 60 [million] to 66 [million],€ Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, wrote in a March 20 research note. €œWe believe the unprecedented ramp of the iPad over the past year is evidence that the tablet market will be measurably larger than the PC market.€ By 2015, he suggested, the iPad market will expand to some 176 million units.

Certainly the new iPad is more expensive for Apple to make. According to IHS iSuppli, the third-generation 16GB iPad with WiFi costs the company $306 in materials; with 4G support, that rises to $348; manufacturing expenses add another $10. That€™s a fair bit above the same model of iPad 2, which cost $271 to make between materials and manufacturing. However, Apple has kept the same pricing scheme for the latest iPad as it did for the iPad 2, meaning (at least in theory) that it€™s taking less profit per device.

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