Does the new iPad have a heat problem?

Previous-generation iPads have had heat problems. But the new iPad may have a unique issue due to the larger battery and chip.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read
New iPad's circuit board and battery.
New iPad's circuit board and battery. iFixit

Heat has come up as an issue with previous generations of iPads. So, that's not news. But the new iPad may have, in select cases, its own unique heat problems.

User forum postings (here and here) and a report seem to point to heat as an issue for select users.

The problem area--based on forum links above--seems to be a hot-spot in the corner of the unit.

In the worst case, the iPad shuts down and a message pops up, saying "the iPad needs to cool down," according to a Next Web report (link above).

That seems to be extremely rare, however. And one user who claimed to have the problem was using it in direct sunlight. Let's be clear: that can cause problems for any electronic device.

The third-generation iPad integrates both a larger battery and a faster (and reportedly larger) chip. Those are significant differences from the iPad 2. So, it inevitably gets warm. And like all Apple iOS mobile products it does not have a fan.

The display also has twice the number of LED backlights compared to the iPad 2, according to NPD DisplaySearch, which may also contribute to the heat problem.

Anecdotal reports on launch day have pointed out that the new iPad can get a little toasty.

But this issue has come up with both the iPad 1 (here) and iPad 2 (here). There were reports of the "cool down" message on the iPad 2 also.

Moreover, note that user comments sometimes confuse overheating with the unit just getting warm.

At a suburban Los Angeles Apple store, a staffer confirmed that the new iPad gets warmer than the iPad 2. He attributed that to the battery.

The operating temperature range is listed on the iPad's spec page as 32 degrees to 95 degrees F (0 degrees to 35 degrees C).

Apple representatives did not immediately respond to a request from comment.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. PDT: clarifying "all iPads" to mean previous generations of iPads. In other words, the topic of heat has come up with each previous generation of iPad. And adds comments from staffer at Apple store. Also clarifies that the warm area is "a corner" of the unit instead of a specific corner, as that is not clear at this time.

Updated on March 20 at 12:30 p.m. PT: adding LED backlight discussion.