One of the first things you’ll notice about the new iPad is that it generates heat. It’s not dangerously hot, or even uncomfortably hot. But it’s warm enough that it’ll make your hands sweat, and much warmer than its predecessor. Warm enough to notice. About ten degrees hotter, to be exact.
In response to complaints about the issue, Apple sent The Loop a snippy bit of ad copy:
The new iPad delivers a stunning Retina display, A5X chip, support for 4G LTE plus 10 hours of battery life, all while operating well within our thermal specifications. If customers have any concerns they should contact AppleCare.
Ok! So what happens when you follow Apple’s directions?
With a warm iPad in my lap, I dialed AppleCare. I was greeted by a polite robot. “My iPad is getting very warm,” I told it. “Are you using it with a Mac?” it asked. I said yes. It offered to send me some support articles “with pictures” that might help solve my problem, if you could even call it that. I told it “thanks.” It sent me this:
In hopes of talking to a real person, I stayed on the line. Ten minutes later I restated my concerns to an equally polite human and got a tentative response: “I have heard a couple of things. Some people are saying it does seem to be normal, and some people are saying it’s not. Let me double check on that for you. ”
[four minutes of hold music]
“How often do you use your new iPad? More than two or three hours out of the day?” Yes, I do. “Well, you definitely don’t have anything to worry about, it is kind of normal for the iPad to get a little warm.”
If it still bothered me, she recommended I let the battery run down completely and restore the software. But, she said, “there’s nothing unusual.” I asked her if the new iPad is just a little warmer than the old one, and she said “right.”
So, to recap: Apple PR says the new iPad is “operating well within our thermal specifications.” Apple support says “it is kind of normal for the iPad to get a little warm.” Both are true! But only one is helpful.