Techies Fume Over iPad's Hidden Weakness

The $500 gadget can shut down in direct sunlight

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Did you spend a few hours in line this weekend waiting to buy Apple's much-heralded new tech toy, the iPad? Then you might be disappointed to learn that the $500 gadget can shut down in direct sunlight. According to some furious tech bloggers, exposure to the sun's rays can prompt a black screen and the ominous error message, "iPad needs to cool down before you can use it." With reports estimating as many as 700,000 iPads sold, could this glitch become a big P.R. problem? Here's the rage and the sorrow:

  • So Much For Beach Reading  The Next Web's Zee shakes his head. "So lets say you’re out in the sun and the iPad soaks some of that sunlight in, the device will switch to the screen you see on the right and you’ll be left with a notification 'iPad needs to cool down before you can use it'. There goes fun days at the beach with Apple’s new pride and joy."
  • Long 'Cool-Down' Period  Texas-based, self-described "iPhone engineer" Phillip Bowden reports, "Huh. Was sitting out in the sun for about an hour and iPad showed a temperature warning screen." The cool-down period, which he says he has had to site through four times already, has lasted "A little over an hour the first time. Then I let it sit for a minute or two, then it happened again maybe 30 mins later."
  • Can't Go Over 95°F  The Next Web uncovers the stats: "Operating temperature: 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C)." This means that if the iPad heats up to 95°F, which can happen in sustained sunlight at an even lower temperature, it will shut down. Needless to say, this could be a real issue for users in places like Florida, Texas, California, or anyone wanting to take their new $500 toy to the beach.
  • Failure in San Diego  Elliot Kroo reports, "After about 10 minutes in the sun, my iPad overheated! [...] I'm in San Diego, out in the sun. a reboot and moving to the shade fixed it." However, he adds sympathetically, "the case temperature was well over 90 degrees, I expect it just legitimately overheated. I'll keep an eye on it though."
  • Is The iPad a Gremlin?  Republican activist Nathan Wurtzel thinks the iPad's special vulnerability reminds him of that classic monster movie, Gremlins. "Don't feed after midnight," he warns.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.