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New Apple iPad hits 116 degrees, Consumer Reports says

  • Apple new iPad thermal images Consumer Reports.jpg

    A thermal image of the newly released iPad shows it running substantially hotter than the older iPad 2. Higher temperatures show as reds and oranges that shade to bright white.Consumer Reports

  • Apple iPad 2 thermal image Consumer Reports.jpg

    Thermal images of the iPad 2 show it running cooler than the new iPad, which hit 116 degrees Fahrenheit in independent testing. Higher temperatures show as reds and oranges that shade to bright white.Consumer Reports

  • Apple iPad HD 3.jpg

    The new iPad features a sharper screen and a faster processor. Apple says the new display will be even sharper than the high-definition television set in the living room.Apple

  • Apple iPad 3 AP.jpg

    March 7, 2012: Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the new iPad during an event in San Francisco. The new iPad model features a sharper screen and a faster processor. Apple says the new display will be even sharper than the high-definition television set in the living room.AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

  • Apple iPad HD 4.jpg

    March 7, 2012: Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller stands in front of an old iPad, left, and new iPad, right, during an Apple event in San Francisco.AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Apple's latest iPad can hit temperatures as high as 116 degrees Fahrenheit while playing action games, Consumer Reports said on Tuesday -- far hotter than earlier versions of the industry leading tablet.

Using a thermal imaging camera, engineers with the consumer watchdog group recorded the soaring temperatures as on both the front and rear of the new iPad while playing the graphics intensive game Infinity Blade II. These temperatures were much warmer than the iPad 2, said Donna L. Tapellini, an analyst with Consumer Reports.

"In the past, we've tested the heat from laptops. When those hit 120 degrees, we found that could cause problems when exposed to bare skin,” Tapellini told FoxNews.com.

Modern video games tend to push the processor and graphics chips to work their hardest, which led to the extreme temperatures. At those temperatures, the iPad felt very warm, but not uncomfortable, Tapellini said.

"If you feel uncomfortable using it, if it’s getting too hot to handle, put it down on the table -- or stop playing the game for a while," she suggested.

"It gets rather warm/hot after 30 minutes of usage. Do you think it's harmless or .... ?"

- iPad user comment from Apple's website

Apple's website says that temperature warning screens will appear with the message "iPad needs to cool down before you can use it," if the iPad runs past its own limits, something Tapellini said she did not observe.

Consumer Reports' findings confirm anecdotal observations by worried consumers, who have flocking to Apple’s forums to offer comments and observations on the new iPad. One thread called “New iPad Overheating?” has stretched to 17 pages since it was started on Friday, the very day the newest iPad went on sale.

“Just got my new iPad. I'm loving the screen and speed but there's something weird about it. It gets rather warm/hot after 30 minutes of usage. It has never happened on my iPad 2. Do you think it's harmless or .... ?" one user posted the day he bought the new iPad.

Other early adopters have since agreed that yes, the new model does indeed seem to get hotter than previous tablets. Some even contemplated returning their iPads, worried that the heat may become an issue.

“While I was playing a bubble popper game it got very hot so I removed it from the case. I didn't want to fry the innards. When I set it on my lap -- it burned my thighs! I had a red rectangle on my thighs for about 15 minutes!” One angry consumer noted.

“Mine also overheats ... I will wait a week also, then it is going to find a new home unless there is some form of resolution,” another wrote.

Those folks have nothing to worry about, Apple said Tuesday.

Noting the many cutting-edge components within its newest gizmo, Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told FoxNews.com that temperatures were well within normal range.

"The new iPad delivers a stunning Retina display, A5X chip, support for 4G LTE plus 10 hours of battery life, all while operating well within our thermal specifications,” Muller said. 

Muller declined to address the Consumer Reports finding, nor would the company confirm that the new iPad does indeed run hotter than the last generation -- a fact that Consumer Reports has proven. 

Apple does not explain exactly what those thermal specifications are, but specifications on the company's website indicate that the iPad can run at ambient temperatures up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The site fails to indicate how hot is too hot.

“If customers have any concerns they should contact AppleCare,” Muller told FoxNews.com.

Apple said Monday that the new iPad already sold about 3 million units since its initial launch last week. Apple shares closed Monday above $600 for the first time.

Jeremy A. Kaplan is Science and Technology editor at FoxNews.com, where he heads up coverage of gadgets, the online world, space travel, nature, the environment, and more. Prior to joining Fox, he was executive editor of PC Magazine, co-host of the Fastest Geek competition, and a founding editor of GoodCleanTech.