It appears to be a operating pattern now – a brand new Retina display product is released by Apple to rave reviews, but a rather serious flaw is discovered by consumers after launch and it all goes a bit sour. This time around it's not the dodgy antenna issue that dogged the iPhone 4 – instead, it's the amount of heat that the new third generation iPad produces.
According to anecdotal evidence from consumers, the new iPad runs much hotter than its predecessor, the iPad 2. The heat causes anything from mild discomfort to a complete shutdown of the iPad, and is particularly prevalent when playing games that make use of the new Retina display, such as the flagship Infinity Blade II title.
Consumer Reports has looked at the issue rather more professionally using a thermal imaging system, and found that the new iPad runs at up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit (that's just shy of 47 degrees Celsius) when charging and playing Infinity Blade II, with LTE connectivity turned off. When it's not charging, it still reaches 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius). Curiously, in the testing performed the outfit also found that the iPad wasn't charged fast enough to replace the battery life being expended on the game, which could be even more problematic than the extra heat.
So are we heading into 'heatgate'? Well, Apple doesn't seem to think so. It's released a short statement saying that the new iPad performs 'within thermal specifications' and that concerned consumers should 'contact Applecare' as normal. There's a good chance the whole thing will blow over, particularly if no actual damage – to iPads or people – is reported due to the issue. If the iPads do start melting down or burning people, then it might be worthy of that 'heatgate' title – until then, it's just a bunch of hot air.