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iPhone 3GS overheating- not a new problem

There has been a bit of a hullaballoo lately regarding overheating problems with the latest iPhone, the 3GS. Some users have complained about the phone getting hot enough to discolour the back of the case (most visible on white iPhones), and a few have even said it nearly burnt their skin. The funny thing is that this is far from a new phenomenon for iPhone users.

One of my favorite parts of the advice to iPhone users in order to avoid overheating are these two gems:

  • Return the phone to the Home screen when you’re not using it to ensure that no application is running.
  • If the phone gets too hot, turn it off and let it sit for awhile before using it again.

I use a BlackBerry bold, which is far less sexy than an iPhone. I am continuously running several applications: it is something called “multi-tasking”, a feature which the oh-so-superior iPhone lacks. And yet somehow, my multi-tasking phone never overheats. And I never have to turn it off, a necessity which is somewhat detrimental to the purpose of a device intended for high-priority communications.

I guess that those privileged and gifted enough to own an iPhone don’t actually need a working phone.

UPDATE: An earlier (October, 2008) report of iPhone abuse leading to overheating : I especially like the very last line of the news item…

2 comments to iPhone 3GS overheating- not a new problem

  • Interesting article … I like how he in an offhand way mentions the history of overheating problems in apple products, and then somehow manages to imply that this is a good thing because it means they really have great performance.

    Er, no. It means they were poorly designed.

    Apple has some nice products and definitely takes a leadership role in what I would call “human factors engineering and interface design.” But the True Believers that will argue black is white and up is down rather than admit Apple is less than perfect… they are really getting tiresome.

  • You hit the nail on the head, Chris. The increasingly irritating elimination of removable batteries from absolutely every portable Apple product is a case in point. The original argument for doing this (‘removable batteries make it bigger’) is total bunkum when applied to the new model Macbook Pros. They are no smaller than they were before, at least not in any practical sense: and besides, the design goal isn’t “unreasonably small” but “professional users”. Despite the complete lack of any practical excuse for it, the batteries in new Macbook Pros are no longer user replaceable. Yes, if you want to give up your computer for several days, you can have it replaced at the shop… but that is just crazy.

    And it does nothing to resolve the real problem- if you need extended battery life, you can’t just pop out the used battery and pop in a spare. You are dead in the water. The real reason for not having removable batteries? Well, I guess it acts as a sort of backhanded encouragement to buy a new iPhone/iPod/computer ever two years when the battery becomes unusable: one could argue that is the real reason. But I suspect it is not such a logical albeit evil reason: no, I think it is just a dislike of anything with removable parts, and a design ethic taken to unreasonable extremes.

    Note that I own and enjoy several Apple products (a 2007 MacBook Pro, an iMac, an Apple TV, a TimeCapsule, and an iPod), but I’m not blinded to their flaws. I must have been sick the day Apple came around to dose me with their Reality Distortion Field.

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