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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

March 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM

New iPad’s hot — literally, Consumer Reports finds

The new iPad can get hot, according to tests by Consumer Reports that found Apple’s new gadget reached 116 degrees while running a video game.

The testing adds validity to scattered customer complaints about heat generated by the iPad that went on sale March 16. Behind its higher-resolution screen is a larger battery than the iPad 2. Some models also have a new LTE radio.

Apple shrugged off the complaints in a statement to All Things D, telling the site that the device operates “well within our thermal specifications” and customers with concerns should contact AppleCare.

Maybe customers are just holding it wrong. The hottest spot is in a corner of the display, according to Consumer Reports’ testing.

Consumer Reports said that at its hottest, the new iPad “felt very warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period.”

But what about young children and others using iPads for extended periods? Perhaps an insulating cover will help.

Thermal tests done earlier by Dutch site Tweakers.net — and relayed by Engadget — showed the new iPad generating 5 degrees Celsius more than an iPad 2.

Consumer Reports found the device reached up to 116 degrees on the front and back while playing “Infinity Blade II,” one of the showcase games available for the iPad.

The heat was pronounced when the device was plugged in.

From its report:

When unplugged, the back of the new iPad reached temperatures as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit. It was only when plugged in that it hit 116 degrees. The hottest areas weren’t evenly distributed throughout the iPad’s back, but were concentrated near one corner of the display as shown in the images taken from the rear of the device above.

So, when plugged in, the back of the new iPad became as much as 12 degrees hotter than the iPad 2 did in the same tests; while unplugged the difference was 13 degrees.

This makes the iPad 2 look like an even better deal at $399, versus the hot new model that starts at $499.

Even if there’s a glitch in the new hardware it may not stop Apple’s amazing stock performance, unless investors are looking for a reason to take their profits. The antenna flaw in the iPhone 4 – which Apple at first downplayed – was hardly a speed bump for AAPL.

A screen grab from the Consumer Reports page:

ipadhott2.jpg

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