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BW Businessworld

Too Hot To Handle?

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Apple may have sold over three million new iPads, but Indians are not exactly beating down the doors to get theirs. That's because there are no doors to beat. And no iPads either, yet. But there will be, and the good thing is that by the time they come around, we will have a head  up on whatever problems the new version may have and how to deal with these. I'd say that's one of the advantages of being lower down in the list on the iPad's route.

But it's amazing when you consider how that one gadget is making headlines in world news — not just the tech news. It's not only a manifestation of Apple's incredible dominance in the world of technology and business, but the place their industry-shaping flagship product has across the globe. After all, of all the products that must surely be over-heating at this very moment, the globe knows of only one.

It started off on the Apple discussion forums where users became alarmed at the heat in the left bottom corner of the device. Worse when plugged in, worse when gaming, but for some even with ten minutes of reading. One user said there was even a message that the iPad needed to cool down. Reviewers have been testing the new iPad and reporting that the temperature goes up to 116"F, but it isn't as if it's uncomfortable.

iPad 3

So, there are many possibilities here. First, the heating could be at the expected level for a gadget that is now more powerful and has a bigger battery than its predecessors. I've used both the iPad original and the iPad 2 and found no hint of heating up even when I use it through the entire day. Another possibility could be that a few devices have a problem. Perhaps that's why Apple asks those who have a problem to head to AppleCare and many have reported getting a replacement with no subsequent problems so far. Indeed, it doesn't seem like everyone is getting the overheating and most are describing it as mildly warm. From the brief response from Apple, it doesn't seem as if the heating is a major problem, but the next few weeks should tell whether it's just a minor problem, fixable with a software update, or localised to a few devices or a widespread problem that is more serious and a fall out of a far more powerful high resolution tablet with a processor that is working harder.

Heating isn't the only problem sprouting up on the support forums. There are also complaints of very slow charging. The previous generations of iPads have demonstrated incredible battery life. Personally, I've found I don't need to think about the battery at all through the day, going late into the night. In fact, by the end of the day, I have to encourage the device to drain out so I can put in on a fresh charge. It also charges completely in a couple of hours. But some users are saying charging has slowed down, though in some cases they are using additional cables which could be making a difference.

Other than these, the screen's new sparklingly clear resolution seems to be a hit with those who have bought it or tested the new iPad, although I did come across a video where passersby asked to identify which of two iPads was the new one often couldn't tell the difference.

A few other worries relate to how much space apps and photos or videos could take up on the new generation iPad. They have more pixels to pack in. Apps that support more resolution, such as iPhoto, will also mean that files will be larger. Data consumption online will also e a consideration. Users will need to keep an eye on what they're downloading because of the overall higher resolution.

In India, I suppose we will cross our bridges when it comes to it. Meanwhile, the iPad 2 is still a fantastic purchase.

Mala Bhargava is a personal technology writer and media professional
Contact her at mala at pobox dot com and @malabhargava on Twitter