No question that Apple (AAPL) knows how to do consumer electronics right, with design, packaging, and marketing that regularly produces hot products. Make that, products that are sometimes too hot. A TechCrunch reader saw his iPhone 4 ignite on his coffee table.
Of course, overheating products are a tradition at Apple. For years, there have been complaints about iPhones and iPods that would get so warm their owners couldn't hold them. However, with Google (GOOGL) Android having passed iOS in phone popularity and a new duo of Microsoft (MSFT) and Nokia (NOK), little issues like this might need more attention.
In the past, the problem got bad enough that EU regulators investigated. Sometimes devices got so warm their cases discolored. Some even caught fire. Overheating that started in iPods and early iPhones spread to the 3GS model and even iPads, some of which would overheat in the sun, reportedly even if out for only a few minutes in moderate temperatures.
Apple's response: Ignore, ignore, ignore
Apple's answer has been to largely ignore the issue and attempt to squelch discussion of the topic when it could, although it had to replace first generation iPod Nanos in Japan and it sort of admitted heat problems with the iPhone 3G and 3GS. Some reporters have claimed that Apple tried to block public information requests with repeated legal maneuvers.
It's not as though other handset vendors are immune from overheating problems. Chalk it up to modern consumer electronics. Tiny cases combined with high-powered chips make it difficult to keep everything cool. For some reason, though, the issue does keep showing up at Apple.
When it faced no real competitors, Apple was pretty successful at ignoring negative coverage of heat issues and pretending that there weren't really any problems. But the market changing rapidly, and eventually problems like this can give other companies marketing weapons.
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