What’s Causing The New iPad’s Heat?

So the big non-scandal of the new iPad is that it gets a bit warm. Apple doesn’t think it an issue, but some questions still remain. For example, precisely how hot does it get? Well, answers vary. These guys say 92.5°F (+3° on the iPad 2), this says 90.5°, CNET got as high as 94° (+5° from iPad 2), but by far the highest measurement was by ConsumerReports, who clocked it at 116° (+12°). None of these are especially hot, and are doubtless not going to effect you much in day to day life. But what’s causing it?

iPad heat

CNet talked to Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate, who offered four reasons for the increased heat output:

  1. Twice the LEDs: That means more heat coming from more LEDs. This is especially a problem at full brightness.
  2. 2.5X the power needed: The brightness efficiency is lower because the new iPad has more pixels (which means more transistors) compared to the iPad 2. More pixels and transistors take up more space, meaning less opportunity for light to pass. “So they basically have to blast light through the LCD to make it come out.” Soneira adds: “I measured the LED power at maximum brightness–it’s two and a half times greater than on the iPad 2.”
  3. Battery generates more juice: The battery has to push out more power. This makes the battery warmer.
  4. Traditional LCD technology: Sharp’s power-efficient IGZO technology was not ready for the new iPad. That forced Apple to use traditional–and less power efficient–amorphous silicon tech.

I don’t have a new iPad, but for those of you who do, is the warmth difference noticeable?  More importantly, is it uncomfortable?


  1. says

    Not uncomfortable, but occasionally noticeable. To be honest, it is no more uncomfortable as a laptop getting warm if on your lap. Even then, it does not get even close as hot. It gets slightly warm, occasionally.

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