Consumer Reports tested Apple's new iPad using a thermal imaging camera that recorded activity of the tablet from the front and hear.
"We ran our test while the new iPad was propped on the iPad Smart Cover, plugged in, and after it had run Infinity Blade II uninterrupted for about 45 minutes," Consumer Reports said, "The device's 4G connection was not turned on, though its Wi-Fi link was. The ambient room temperature was about 72 degrees. (Apple recommends not using the iPad in environments over 95 degrees.)"
Consumer Reports engineers also ran the test with an unplugged iPad and compared the device with the iPad 2. The testers found that the new iPad got up to 113 degrees unplugged.
How did it stack up against the iPad 2? The new iPad runs up to 13 degrees hotter than the second-generation tablet. The test engineers did admit that holding the new iPad at a warmer temperature was "not especially uncomfortable" in short intervals.
Why is the new iPad so hot? The most likely cause is a larger battery, Retina Display screen and faster chip.The third-generation tablet is faster and more powerful than the previous model.
Let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater. As CNET's Josh Lowensohn noted, "Nowhere has it been said that this extra heat could lead to dangerous things happening to the battery, something that has historically been linked to a hardware flaw vs. an engineering decision."
Not surprisingly, Apple released a vague response in light of the Consumer Reports findings.
"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," Apple spokesperson Trudy Miller told AllThingsD.
This isn't the first time Apple has experienced controversy immediately following a product launch. When the iPhone 4 launched, customers complained of frequent dropped calls. It was discovered that holding the iPhone 4 in certain places interfered with the antenna, causing calls to disconnect. Many coined the incident "antennagate."
Then chief executive officer, the late Steve Jobs, addressed the issue 22 days after the iPhone 4 launched. The company resolved the issue by offering free cases - which helped alleviate the problem.
If issues do arise over the new iPad's temperature, Apple's history suggests the company will release a fix in a timely manner. The new iPad was made available to the public on March 16 - less than a week ago.