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Red Hot Decadence

The new Apple iPad has a flaw! Now before all you Apple fan boys go into a rabid frenzy and all you Apple haters start breaking into a celebratory war dance, let me quantify that. Rajiv Makhni writes...

brunch Updated: Mar 31, 2012 20:38 IST
Rajiv Makhni
Rajiv Makhni
Hindustan Times

The new Apple iPad has a flaw! Now before all you Apple fan boys go into a rabid frenzy and all you Apple haters start breaking into a celebratory war dance, let me quantify that. First, I said flaw, not a defect. Second, let’s get the meaning of the word flaw right. A flaw is described as something that curtails the completeness of a thing. The Apple iPad has a flaw that is not a big deal. And as far as the history of flaws in gadgets and technology go, this is a very minor one. Yet the world is all up in arms about this one.

The new iPad may overheat. But is it a deal-breaker?

The all new iPad runs hot. And once you’ve exhausted all your puns and innuendos on how it is the ‘hottest seller’ in more ways than one and how it’s ‘burning up the sales charts’ and even how it’s a ‘red hot device’, let’s take a break from all that mirth to understand what’s really going on here.


For all those of you who’ve been living under a rock and don’t know much about the new iPad, let me get you up to speed in a sentence. It’s got a ‘resolutionary’ Retina screen (Apple’s tag line, not mine), which in normal everyday language means, it has got the most kickass screen ever on a Tablet; it looks just like an iPad 2 from the outside; it’s got a great amount of processing power inside; the voice dictation works like a charm; it’s sold in record millions ever since the launch and it is the top dog in Tablets right now. And yes, it runs hot: almost 15 degrees hotter than its predecessor when doing something similar like playing a graphic-intensive game or running a full 1080p movie. Overheating devices are very dangerous, can lead to injuries, explosions, catch fire, burn laps and fingers and seriously affect the sperm count in men. So why is this not a big deal?

Even the Best have flaws
Well first and foremost, flaws, defects and even recalls are now very much part and parcel of the complex world of technology and devices. With almost all companies contract manufacturing outside in the mad rush to get new devices to market, a frighteningly large amount of hardware crammed inside each gadget, the complexity of features and the intense competition to be out first with the next big thing, somewhere something has to give. Just in the last few years, minor and major flaws and defects have appeared across the board. Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, Panasonic, Sharp, Fujitsu and Sony have recalled laptop batteries because they could overheat and cause a fire; LG recalled the LG 150 mobile phone due to excessive radio frequency exposure; Sony Ericsson’s Aino phone had customers reporting serious problems while using the touch screen; Apple’s iPhone 4 had the famous Antennagate problem where we were told to learn how to hold the phone correctly; Nokia had an issue with chargers and had offered to replace them free of cost. It’s an ever-growing and huge list of the best of the best.

Living by the sword

The other reason why it’s not a big deal is that this really isn’t a major shock to the system. It’s just being made to appear so. Most laptops and Notebooks run hotter (despite having a fan inside) and the only reason this is making so much news is that this is an Apple product. Apple makes news irrespective. It gets billions of dollars of free publicity every time a new product is about to come out; it has an unpaid, yet very loyal and hard working army of iWarriors, who sometimes over-defend a minor situation and blow it out of proportion. And most importantly, the new Pad is currently a very popular piece of news.

Radioactive: LG recalled the LG 150 mobile phone due to excessive radio frequency exposure

Thus those who live by the sword, die by the sword and here Apple is just discovering that. Yet, it is amusing to hear some of the iMafia-reasoning for the heat (it’s a feature, it’s not hot, it’s pleasant) and how the iHaters have declared self righteous war (it can lead to the battery exploding, it works great as a blanket warmer). The truth is that the new iPad running hotter than before is par for course as it is pushing new boundaries in hardware and still trying to maintain size, form factor, battery life and user experience. It’s got a much larger battery, a bigger and faster processor, a screen with 3.1 million pixels that are all firing at the same time and more antennas inside than any other device. When you’ve got that much of hardware all stuck inside a case as small and thin as the iPad with no fan, no heat sink and the back playing the role of the only cooling surface, you’re going to get some heat!

Nuclear Meltdown?

The point is how much? In the time that I’ve spent with it, I’ve done pretty much all I could to get it into nuclear meltdown mode. Yes, it got warm – but never to the point that I couldn’t use it. In fact the iPad has an auto shut-off feature that won’t let it overheat to the point that it can be dangerous. In a country like India where summers can be a furnace, this may well be a very critical safety feature.

So rest easy. The heat on the new iPad isn’t a deal-breaker. This is a great device and brings an incredible array of future technology to you in one small little slate. Do remember that almost all the new devices you buy from here on will push the envelope and try and deliver you features and specs that come straight from your dreams. Whether your dreams are red hot or not is something you’ll discover soon enough :)

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3. Follow Rajiv on Twitter at

From HT Brunch, April 1

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First Published: Mar 31, 2012 18:30 IST