Apple Sued Over Overheating iPads

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A trio of Northern Californians is suing everybody's favorite technology company--that is, Apple--because their iPads reportedly overheat too quickly in the sun.

courtesy of Zach Honig (Twitter: @zachhonig)
The complaint was filed in federal court in Oakland on July 23 by Jacob Balthazar, Claudia Keller, and John Browning. According to the filing, the iPad does not "live up to reasonable consumer's expectations created by Apple."

"The iPad does not live up to the reasonable consumer's expectations created by Apple insofar as the iPad overheats so quickly under common weather conditions that it does not function for prolonged use outdoors, or in many other warm conditions," the filing reads.

When the 9.7-inch touchscreen iPad is in the sun for too long, the device shuts down and leaves the user with a screen that reads "iPad needs to cool down before you can use it." According to the complaint, this sometimes happens after just minutes of being outside.

All right, so most people realize that taking your sexy new technology sunbathing with you isn't a great idea. But, before you throw this case out as absurdly frivolous, let's look at the evidence.

  • On April 4, Max Fisher of The AtlanticWire did a round-up of several accounts overheating iPads. Fisher noted The Next Web's statistics--operating temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • On April 3, iPhone developer Elliot Kroo tweeted that his iPad overheated after only ten minutes in the San Diego sun.
  • PC Magazine editor Zach Honig also tweeted about his iPad failure--after only ten minutes in the New York sun, his iPad shut down. However, he put it in the fridge for a minute and it quickly came back around.

This may actually be a very real problem, especially since the iPad is designed for e-book reading and casual computing--a very plausible time to use your iPad would be outside or at the beach. Also, this is not just an iPad issue--it also happens with the iPhone (just the other day my iPhone shut down after I, er, took it sunbathing), but the iPad has a larger surface area and is thus quicker to soak up the rays.

Still, even if it is a problem, the lawsuit strikes me as a bit frivolous.

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