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New iPad runs hotter than previous version, test confirms

In this March 7, 2012 file photo, a new Apple iPad is on display during an Apple event in San Francisco.

Paul Sakuma/AP

Apple Inc.'s new iPad reached temperatures of 47 degrees Celsius after 45 minutes of running an intense action game, or up to 11 degrees hotter than the previous iPad under similar conditions, according to a test run by influential reviewer Consumer Reports.

The consumer watchdog, investigating numerous claims online that the third iteration of the iPad could get uncomfortably hot after heavy usage, used a thermal imaging camera to ascertain the front and rear of the tablet warmed up significantly while running the game Infinity Blade II.

A similar test performed on the iPad 2 found that the latest version of the gadget could run 11 to 12 degrees hotter than iPad 2, depending on whether it was plugged in, Consumer Reports said in its findings.

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Earlier Tuesday, an Apple spokeswoman said the iPad was "within our thermal specifications." The company's website lists the normal operating range for the new iPad as between 0 to 35 degrees Celsius. It is designed to power down should that range be breached.

Consumer Reports, which reviews everything from electronics to cars, noticed comments on online forums and on Apple's website about excessive heat from the new device, which went on sale Friday, and decided to look into the issue, a spokesman said.

Hundreds of comments posted on an Apple support website centered on how the new iPad – which sports a larger battery than its predecessor to power a sharper "retina" display screen and other bells and whistles – could get uncomfortably warm.

"My new iPad ... definitely got significantly warm, almost too warm to hold warm, when running on LTE," rawwave commented on Friday. "Not even doing a lot of downloads (just browsing Twitter) but having the LTE radio on seemed to cause it to get noticeably hot."

Some other sites also suggested the new iPad was almost 10 degrees hotter.

The new iPad's battery is 70 per cent bigger than the one in the previous version, said Kyle Wiens, chief executive of iFixit, a prominent Apple repair and parts supplier.

"It still has the same battery life," he said. "So it will run hotter."

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The second-generation iPad 2 had a 25 watt-hour battery while the new iPad's battery has a capacity of 42.5 watt-hours, according to a tear-down analysis by iFixit.

The third iteration of the iPad hit store shelves on Friday and about 3 million units have moved so far, the company has said, calling it the strongest launch for an iPad yet.

Reviews have generally been good for a gadget that experts say falls short of being revolutionary, focusing on the iPad's ability to take advantage of faster 4G wireless technology as well as a sharper display.

On Friday, before comments about excessive heat began circulating online, Consumer Reports said in its preliminary review that the iPad was "shaping up as the best tablet yet."

With files from The Associated Press, and Globe Staff

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