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iPhone heat issue much ado about nothing

Some reports on Friday claim that Apple admitted in a tech note to having heat issues with the iPhone 3GS, but that's just not true.

OK, folks, it's time to step back, take a deep breath, and relax.

Apple, Inc.

There has been a lot of talk today about Apple supposedly admitting it has heat issues with the new iPhone 3GS. The simple fact is that is not true.

What Apple did do is update a previously published tech note advising customers of the safe operating temperatures of the iPhone. Now, why would Apple do this? Because it does it every time it releases a device like the iPhone 3GS. It's standard procedure for the company to continually update tech notes for all its products.

If you're not familiar with them, tech notes are a way for companies to offer advice, best practices, workarounds, and other tidbits of information for their customers. They are not a way to advise customers of disastrous heat issues that they may have with a device.

For whatever reason, some people picked up the tech note today and wrote that Apple had admitted to an overheating issue. Here's what the tech note actually says.

Apple recommends that you don't:

  • Leave the device in a car on a hot day.
  • Leave it in direct sunlight for extended amounts of time.
  • Use certain applications in hot conditions or direct sunlight for long periods of time, such as GPS tracking in a car on a sunny day or listening to music while in direct sunlight.

I hardly see that as an admission that there are heat issues. Best practices for operating the iPhone, sure.

I've been through several incidents over my 15 years of covering Apple where warnings were issued about products. Whether it was a notebook battery or a power cord, we usually learned of the problem from Apple, and they were always quick to respond and to offer replacements.

It is true that Apple has been quiet about this so far. If I had to guess, I'd say it's because they have not been able to replicate the heat issues some users are reporting.

You will know when Apple acknowledges a serious problem like this. It won't come in the form of a tech note. It will come directly from a company representative.