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Bug Businesses Cellphones Apple

Some Overheating 3GS iPhones Glow Pink 364

Posted by kdawson
from the twenty-first-century-hearth dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that dozens of users of the recently released iPhone 3GS have reported overheating issues, with some iPhone owners unable to pick up the device because the handset gets so hot to the touch, while others say the casing turns pink with the heat. 'I am definitely experiencing issues with the iPhone running warm and quick battery life lost,' writes Tom Goldstein on one discussion board. 'The phone seems to warm up almost immediately if I am doing anything that pulls data over the network.' Some users have said the device has been too hot to put to their ear while making a phone call, and others say the overheating seems to occur when owners are using the iPhone's mapping software, which uses the handset's built-in GPS technology. Melissa J. Perenson writes at PC World: 'I became aware the handset had become very hot. Very, very hot — not just on the back, but the entire length of the front face, too.' Some gadget experts believe faulty batteries could be the cause of overheating and poor battery life. 'My guess is there's going to be a whole lot of batteries affected because these [iPhones] are from very large production runs,' said Aaron Vronko, who fixes iPods and iPhones. 'If you have a problem in the design of a series of batteries, it's probably going to be spread to tens of thousands [of device], if not hundreds of thousands, and maybe more.'"
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Some Overheating 3GS iPhones Glow Pink

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:57AM (#28539821)

    Simple logic shows these claims to be provably false:

    1. 'teh iPhone' is 'teh Best Thing Ever'

    2. 'teh Best Thing Ever' obviously doesn't overheat and discolour

    Therefore

    'teh iPhone' doesn't overheat and discolour.

    QED

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:18AM (#28539935)

      Apple obviously designed the iPhone 3GS to be cooled by pure Apple fanboyism. People having problems obviously aren't the true believers.

      iPhone owner checklist:

      * Are you making sure to bring up your iPhone in EVERY single conversation no matter how irrelevant it is to what you are talking about?

      * Are you making sure you are holding your iPhone in the most BLATANTLY OBVIOUS way possible in all public places?

      * Are you flaming each and every single post on the Net that dares to criticize the iPhone?

      * Are you making good use of your mod points on Net messageboards and BURY the Apple unbelievers?

      Making sure you are doing your part should keep your precious iPhone perfectly safe and as pristine as the glorious moment you saw Steve Jobs on stage cradle it in his hands.

      • by Big Hairy Ian (1155547) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:34AM (#28540009)

        B3ta had a compo which I believe is relevant to this thread

        http://www.b3ta.com/challenge/iphone/ [b3ta.com]

      • by Sandbags (964742) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @10:54AM (#28542453) Journal

        I guess I'm a bad owner...

        I try not to talk about it unless other people drag me into it. (usually because a coworker got one of his own and is asking me questions about my favorite apps).
        I generally try to hide my use of the device as I don't like being pestered about it by people who want to buy one but have not.
        I don't flame iPhoine posts, I just flame FUD, and in many cases I've defended features of competing devices, and am always more than willing to discuss the iPhone's limitations and what I'd like to see changed as opposed to it's strengths.
        Since I nearly always post in iPone forums where another poster has spread disinformation, or their own unfounded flamings, I'm usually incapable of using my mod points to bury them.
        I also do not shamelessly promote the device simply because it's an apple product. Though my wife and I both own one (since I gave her my 2G when i got my 3G S last week), and we do plan to buy a MacBook Pro in August, we are both PC users on a daily basis and expect to stay that way for the forseeable future. When someone comes out with a device that I feel is genuinely as good or better than the iPhone, and I don;t have to break a contract to get it, then I might very well switch.

    • 3. Apple cant do no wrong

      • Then they can claim it has a built in heater.

        Test your products both in cold climates and 40c+ climates. btw apple, black sucks, it absorbes heat in the sun shine.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by peragrin (659227)

          well take a quick look around at other smart phones. some 80% of them are what? black.

          there are silver ones and a few random other colours but most are black.

          No the only thing apple should be ashamed of is poor battery design and over clocking the processor to make idiots happy.

          • by d3ac0n (715594)

            well take a quick look around at other smart phones. some 80% of them are what? black.

            there are silver ones and a few random other colours but most are black.

            And now we see WHY black is the preferred color for smartphones. It's far less likely to discolor due to the heat the device puts out.

            That, and sexy little things and cool things ALWAYS properly come in BLACK. Seriously, who has ever heard of the "sexy little WHITE dress", or "Back in WHITE" or "Always bet on WHITE"?

            You want cool and sexy, go get a P

            • by Kensai7 (1005287)

              That, and sexy little things and cool things ALWAYS properly come in BLACK. Seriously, who has ever heard of the "sexy little WHITE dress", or "Back in WHITE" or "Always bet on WHITE"?

              If you go WHITE you won't go back... lol

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by SeaFox (739806)

            No the only thing apple should be ashamed of is poor battery design and over clocking the processor to make idiots happy

            Overclocked processor? [wired.com] Maybe you should learn not to post false information.

            Also, even if Apple designed the batteries, they didn't build them themselves. Poor manufacturing and QC of individual components isn't Apple's fault. Just as exploding Sony batteries isn't Dell's.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by mobby_6kl (668092)

              Yes it's Apple's problem. It's their product, and they should test it properly to make sure all the components work as they're supposed to on their own and once put together.

              Anyway, we don't even know yet if it's the (non user-replaceable) batteries that's causing this so it might very well be a design flaw too.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by BlackSnake112 (912158)

              How many people still blamed Dell for those bad batteries?

              Also a good design on paper/computer screen is not always a good design in the field.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by eserteric (442678)

            If I recall correctly the 3GS process is actually underclocked to run cooler. I want to say it's an 800MHz running at 600MHz, but I'm not certain about those numbers.

        • by emlyncorrin (818871) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @07:08AM (#28540411)

          btw apple, black sucks, it absorbes heat in the sun shine.

          How often do you leave your phone out in direct sunlight? And black radiates heat better, so in the shade it will cool down faster.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Sandbags (964742)

            My new 3G S gets pleanty of sunshine, sitting in a dock on my black dashboard in full direct sinlight...

            I have run it for 4+ hours straight, in SC sunlight, in a car with poorly performaing Air Conditioning, (about 80 in the car) running iPod in the background, full volume output, WiFi and BlueTooth on, and with Google Maps on, in hybrid mode, screen set to not sleep, with GPS real time tracking and the compass enabled, while and charging the battery.

            It was 102 degrees on Saturday. After that much time und

    • Eh, no matter what electronic product you have there are going to be batches of bad products. This batch got a lousy battery, this a bad speaker, another went through a flawed machine for sealing, etc. They sold a million within the first day or weekend, and how many people are complaining?

      I picked one up (my first iPhone) the other day and haven't had a problem with it. While I notice the temp increase while playing a game, it's "just" noticable. Not uncomfortable, not obvious, not "too warm" etc. I a

  • by Simon Brooke (45012) <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:57AM (#28539827) Homepage Journal

    My Android G1 - normally cool (in the thermal sense) heats quickly when using GPS for sustained periods. It doesn't become uncomfortable to hold or to use but it's definitely noticable. My bet is that the iPhone problem is also GPS related.

    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      GPS chip vendors are in untested territory lately, miniaturization of GPS chip is a huge race going on since GPS chips were designed 4-5 years ago in times when ''real'' GPS devices which are bulky and having lots of space.

      I wonder if they use the same chip, there aren't many chip vendors as one may think, just look at how many different wireless chip vendors out there... Not many.

    • by ct1972 (814272) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @06:04AM (#28540141) Homepage
      When I truck a lot of traffic over 3G to the G1 I also seem to have some overheating problems, albeit not as severe as those being discussed above. Notably trying to watch TV in beebplayer seems to cause overheating which may or may not be why the video often halts for me in that application. That might tally with those proclaiming general traffic as being a problem too. PS. No idea why you've been modded off topic, since a comparison of similar issues with other phones seems highly relevant to me. Had I mod points I'd have corrected that.
    • My Android G1 also gets warm when using 3G or Wifi. It's warm, not hot. And it's always in the lower part of the phone (the part with the scroll wheel).

    • I have a Generation 1 iPhone when I am doing a lot of browsing over edge or WiFi it gets noticeably warm too. Not Hot just warm. It is probably just the CPU heating up from the extra work. the 3G S cpu probably had some variation in its manufacture or during the iphone manufacture process a step was missed or the wrong quantity was used, or just replaced with a different part that seemed equal but had issues. Perhaps the overheating iPhones actually go faster then the non-overheating ones.

    • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @07:40AM (#28540547)

      My bet is that the iPhone problem is also GPS related.

      My somewhat ancient Garmin GPS runs for somewhat over a day continuous on two AA batteries. It has a nice full color screen about the size of a iphone although much lower resolution. It is an inch or two larger than an iphone in all dimensions but that's mostly empty space... its engineered to be less dense than water, so as to float.

      So, thats about 3 volts at about 1.5 amp-hours equals about 4.5 watt-hours.

      Dividing 4.5 watthours by a pessimistic 24 hours, gives 188 milliwatts.

      I'm sure a decade or so newer engineering results in much lower power consumption. Checking out the technical specifications PDF for the first google I found:

      http://www.latitudetechnology.com/gps_module.html [latitudetechnology.com]

      You're looking at about 23 mA at about 3 volts, for a whopping 70 milliwatts, almost a third less for an "april of 2009" GPS module. Technology marches onward I guess.

      1) A quarter watt dumped in a case that large is not going to be detectably warmer, but it'll probably be almost enough to stop dew from condensing on the surface, most of the time. Dew will condense on the surface of my powered up GPS in extreme weather conditions. To get "warm" with a quarter watt, compare the tiny volume and tiny surface area of a typical quarter-watt power resistor to an iphone.

      2) Considering handheld cellphones are allowed to transmit 600 mW and I suspect the overall RF section is less than 50% efficient, the phone probably dumps at least 3 times the heat from its RF section than its GPS section. Then probably about half the emitted RF gets adsorbed by the users hands, figure about a watt of total heat in the hands just from the transmitter. GPS or no, will not be noticeable.

      The problem is not the GPS module. Now a GPS application could "require" a multi-core GHZ class pentium processor at full blast, but thats a software engineering problem not a "GPS" problem, since obviously a "real handheld GPS" does the same task without turning into a handwarmer. A bad enough programmer could make a tetris that would burn your hands, but that doesn't mean tetris is the problem.

      • by bperkins (12056)
        Just a wild guess; they may saved some hardware cost by using CPU to do some of the signal processing instead of using a ASIC for it.
        That might end up burning quite a bit of power.

        I don't think that would explain the iPhone overheating, but it might explain the GP's experience
      • To get "warm" with a quarter watt, compare the tiny volume and tiny surface area of a typical quarter-watt power resistor to an iphone

        The poster assumes that the reader is familiar with the size of a typical .25 watt resistor... and for the people who will actually read his (somewhat technical) post, he's probably right.

        Nowhere else is technical knowledge brought together with goatse and GNAA trolls so seamlessly.

        Love it!

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by indre1 (1422435)
      The heating may be caused by the increased power consumption - all Li-Po batteries have a certain constant discharge rate. If the battery gets close to that discharge rate, it starts heating up. Add to this the heat that the telephone's chips create and you get a phone that's burning your hands! This would explain why even some normal phones heat up while talking (W610i for example).

      Why won't manufacturers use batteries with greater discharge rate?
      Simple: the batteries would be larger for the same capa
    • I mean, isn't the GPS chip running all the time to give you cellular 9-1-1 and location based services?

      It's not like OEM GPS units are an exotic technology either. You determine the thermal dissipation of the unit on the test bench just by firing it up. This is some kind of system behavior phenomenon.

      If I had to pull an answer out of my donkey I'd guess that the initial cause of the overheating is plain old CPU wattage. Normally the CPU would run throttled down, but then when you do mapping and processing

      • by topham (32406)

        Considering the program I had running on my iPhone 3G and touch I can say this is generally hogwash.

        It is very likely a battery issue and any significant usage will trigger it if that's the case.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:58AM (#28539831)

    Apple can just deal with this like everyone else, right? You know, send a whole bunch of batteries to the retail stores, and those affected can come in, pop off the back of the phone, replace the battery, and drop off the old one. No need to send the phone back or anything.

    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      I don't wish for such a thing as it would really hit Apple big time and even effect us, Apple Desktop users hating iPhone but man... It would be ultimate justice for designing first ever popular handheld Unix device and locking it in a way that user can't even change the battery.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They'll just hand you a replacement and restore your data in store. I've seen it done more than once

  • OMG!!!!111! (Score:5, Funny)

    by adavies42 (746183) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @04:59AM (#28539841)
    It's a pony-phone!
  • Hmmmm ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:00AM (#28539851) Homepage

    ... testing anyone?

    It seems Apple has a hard time learning that electronics cause heat and that this heat needs to be led away from the device.

    I can remember several cases ( MacBooks, iMacs, what have you) where they've had overheating issues ... pretty sloppy engineering if you ask me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lxs (131946)

      I doubt that it is sloppy engineering, but in their quest for ever smaller aesthetically pleasing case design they may be sailing a little too close to the edge of what is technically possible.

      A bit like the Xbox360 really (ok minus the small form factor or the nice design, but at least they tried.)

      • Re:Hmmmm ... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gTsiros (205624) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @06:41AM (#28540281)

        "little too close to the edge of what is technically possible."

        exactly.

        pretty sloppy engineering.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Sandbags (964742)

          Keep in mind, apple makes and tests the device thourally. However, once mass production begins, and 3rd party battery manufacturers try to cut corners, the "samples" they send to Apple for testing may not reflect what they're putting in the devices.

          Battery quality has LONG been an INDUSTRY issue, never a manufacturer issue.

          The 3G S has the same thermal envelope of the 3G, and it was fine... 10 million of them were fine. The 3G S uses a newer battery, LiPo this time not LiIon. It'sd a far safer, stabler

    • by denzacar (181829) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:28AM (#28539985) Journal

      It is just that all testing is done by a team of Eskimos. iNuit to be precise.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by whisper_jeff (680366)

      It seems hardware manufacturers have a hard time learning that electronics cause heat and that this heat needs to be led away from the device.

      Fixed that for you.

      It has nothing to do with Apple - all hardware manufacturers seem to have problems. A quick look at google for "laptop battery catches fire" turns up this [consumerist.com] story about a Dell battery catching fire, this [gizmodo.com] story about an IBM catching fire, and this [v3.co.uk] story about a Toshiba catching fire. And we know those three stories aren't rare - those were just quick search results to prove a point.

      If you're going to pick on a manufacturer for a faulty battery issue, make sure you don't portray it to b

      • Re:Hmmmm ... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768@comca ... t minus caffeine> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @08:29AM (#28540841) Journal
        Eh its Apple. I mean look at how much time was spent on the Pre falling apart. Some people on Palm boards or literally on their THIRD PRE because its so poorly constructed, yet a handful of iPhones get hot and Apple is this awful company.
        • Re:Hmmmm ... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by schon (31600) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @10:12AM (#28541843)

          Some people on Palm boards or literally on their THIRD PRE because its so poorly constructed, yet a handful of iPhones get hot and Apple is this awful company.

          I realize that in Macfanboyland this probably isn't true, but in the real world, it's possible for two companies to be bad at the same time.

          In other words, just because Palm is bad, doesn't mean that Apple isn't either.
           
          /me waits for fanboys to mod me down

    • by samkass (174571)

      Considering that Apple has sold millions of these things already and a relatively few are having problems, I don't think testing would likely have caught this issue. Besides, it sounds like a software problem not a hardware problem. Almost no embedded device is designed to be run with everything pegged at 100% for extended periods... obviously some bug in the OS is doing so.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MemoryDragon (544441)

      ... testing anyone?

      It seems Apple has a hard time learning that electronics cause heat and that this heat needs to be led away from the device.

      I can remember several cases ( MacBooks, iMacs, what have you) where they've had overheating issues ... pretty sloppy engineering if you ask me.

      Well the first batch of Macbook Airs also had severe overheating issues, mostly crawling up in summer, Apple never fixed it, well they did, the fix was to sell a second generation after a few months where the heating issues occur less frequently!
      So the list of Apples thermal design failures is pretty long starting btw. with the famous Apple 3 whichs thermal problems back then was Steve Jobs personal fault, because he refused to listen to his engineers and demanded a fanless machine!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by prockcore (543967)

      Yeah, especially since Apple has been making the same mistake for almost 30 years now.

      Steve Jobs' insistence that the Apple III be fanless, coupled with the cramped aluminum chassis designed to reduce radio-frequency emissions without regard to the demands of the electrical circuitry was a recipe for disaster. As the computer was used, its chips got hot, expanded slightly, and slowly worked their way out of their sockets, at which point the computer simply died. Apple's solution was to recommend lifting the

  • Battery Concerns (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alistair (31390) <.alistair. .at. .hotldap.com.> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:12AM (#28539913)

    Having just upgraded from the first iPhone to the 3GS I have to say I am disappointed with the battery life on the new handset, it's certainly not the improvement I was expecting from reviews. With Wi-Fi and location services turned off and very light usage I can get just about 2 days out of it, normal use sees it being recharged every night which is inferior to the old model. I was contemplating returning it to O2 but before I did that I wanted to know if there are any standard tests to see if my battery is that much worse than normal, e.g. the phone plays a movie for 5.5 hours at 75% brightness or play music through headphones for 9 hours from full charge etc. Any thoughts? Reviews also seemed to suggest there was a better battery meter in this model but I haven't seen it, 20% charge remaining still seems to mean run for a recarger, not you have 20% of the usage time you would get from a full charge left.

  • by Cyberllama (113628) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:12AM (#28539915)

    I think there is a software issue that causes something to start draining power at a crazy rate non-stop. I turned on the percentage battery indicator on my 3gs and one day I noticed it was running kind of hot and I looked at the indicator and saw the battery % had gotten crazy low really fast so I just set the phone down and watched.

    I was losing like 1% every minute while running nothing other than the OS itself. WTF? That's like under 2 hour battery life while doing NOTHING but staring at the home screen -- you're supposed to be able to watch video for 6-7 hours, right?

    So I powered my phone off completely, then let it reboot. Whatever it was, it went away. After that it ran smooth, no extra heat, battery indicator stayed at the same percent as I stared at homescreen for 5+ minutes and it was perfectly fine for the rest of the day. No clue what happened there, but something was draining power non-stop until I rebooted the thing. I assume it wasn't the processor, because it wasn't locked up -- so perhaps it was a modem issue.

    It's quite possible that had I not noticed this issue and rebooted my phone I might have ended up with a pink one as well.

    • It can be CPU (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ilgaz (86384) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:43AM (#28540061) Homepage

      I am about to file a bug report to a Symbian beta software because I busted it using amazing amounts of CPU if it changes the wireless network while other network it was connected is doing kinda OK with 30-40 percent levels.

      It is more like Apple OS X scheme of things, access point groups. Issue comes from application since it has its own access points code. Doesn't use system's built in.

      How could I figure the huge CPU load? Simple, battery went hot and died in hours. It is like old fashion way of figuring CPU load.

      What I mean is don't eliminate CPU immediately, they are portable devices running portable CPU which was never designed for 24/7 full CPU load.

      What we need is, some heroic blog hack the iPhone 3G, install standard UNIX tools (ps) and run ps -aux (or top) whenever it gets hot. I am NOT suggesting it to actual iPhone 3GS owners. You bought it, report bug to Apple using http://bugreporter.apple.com/ [apple.com] . Duplicate reports are always welcome at Apple, they work like ''vote''.

    • by ocularDeathRay (760450) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:47AM (#28540079) Journal
      I had an issue like that with my old blackberry pearl. I was beta testing some software from my broker and after you loaded the quotes page once, it would continue to download data until you pulled the battery. It would get extremely hot, I didn't notice the problem for a couple hours the first time it happened. I could smell electronics starting to burn and checked over all the computers around my desk before I realized it was my phone. I think you are on to something, could easily be a buggy app causing this.
    • by Bakafish (114674) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:59AM (#28540127) Homepage

      I had the same experience with a iPhone 3G (not 3GS) after upgrading to OS 3.0 Some stuck process drained my battery to zero in a very short period of time. I wasn't near my charger, and initially I thought that the unit had died. I've never drained the battery before, and trying to power it up in that state didn't give a response of any kind. Once I got home I was relieved when it woke up after docking it.

      This is an OS issue I think, not the battery. The side effect is heat and reduced life though. I'd imagine that the thermal monitoring isn't able to shutdown the unit when it gets into that state. I wasn't handling my unit at the time so I don't know if there was heat related to the event.

    • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @07:03AM (#28540391) Homepage

      I assume it wasn't the processor, because it wasn't locked up -- so perhaps it was a modem issue.

      Although Apple don't want you to know it, the iPhone OS is actually a multi-tasking OS at heart, so a spinning process won't lock up the processor. It'll just keep the CPU pegged at 100% and flatten the battery. What might cause such a thing? On Android, most of the software is written in Java so the only way to make it spin like that is to actually enter a real infinite loop. The iPhone is (rather questionably imho) written in Objective-C, which uses manual memory management and thus lets you do double frees, buffer overruns etc. A classic cause of infinite loops in C based apps is heap arena corruption - you smash the heap control structures in some way, and then malloc or free go into an infinite loop trying to find a free block. Most mallocs don't do much error checking for performance reasons.

      What I suspect happens is that there's a subtle memory error in a part of iPhone 3.0 which causes some background process to start spinning inside malloc. The iPhone 3GS has a more powerful processor than its predecessor and it's possible that Apple decided (riskily imho) that it was OK if they couldn't dissipate the heat from a pegged CPU because they would try and ensure the CPU never pegged in software. For instance they might be throttling user applications (I have no evidence of that, it's just a theory). However that overlooks the possibility that their own software would accidentally peg the CPU for some time .... leading to the result we have here.

      • Inaccurate (Score:3, Informative)

        by SuperKendall (25149)

        The iPhone is (rather questionably imho) written in Objective-C, which uses manual memory management and thus lets you do double frees, buffer overruns

        If you actually knew much about objective-C you'd know that's false.

        Memory management is based an retain/release model, which removes you from most of the dangers of C memory management because you are working with a higher level abstraction.

        The equivalent of a "double free" is over releasing an object, which means you send a message to a dead object and the

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pringlis (867347)
      I've had this problem too. Those I've spoken to about it attribute it to either the GPS chip or the WiFi chip not powering down properly.
  • Obviously (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rhaban (987410) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:20AM (#28539953)

    The iphone just isn't cool anymore.

  • by supercytro (527265) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:24AM (#28539967)
    If you need to cook your food in the wilderness or light a campfire, there's an app for that...
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:33AM (#28540007)

    The iPhone was supposed to be used by cool people who can easily take the heat.

  • by tiggertaebo (1480739) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:40AM (#28540033)

    Sounds like a fairly straight forward case of there being a few dodgy units out there to me - not exactly the biggest surprise when you consider the number of units produced and the short development/testing cycles people have to get new gadgets out these days. Apple aren't the only ones this sort of thing has happened to and they certainly won't be the last.

    Watching all the fanbois go up in flames (bah-dum-tish) was however pure internet entertainment!

    "nuh-huh didn't happen!"

    "they are using it wrong"

    "its normal!! laptops can browse the internet and gets hot - the iphone can browse the internet and gets hot. Same thing innit?"

    "it's cos of the mega-fast hardware - it just shows how awesome it is"

    "YOU'RE ALL JEALOUS!!"

    As I expect there will be some of the same along here shortly I'll grab some popcorn :)

    • Funny how the internet usually brings out the extremist in people. You either get "sure shows how the iPhone sucks" or you get "you're too stupid to use it right, plain to see 'cause mine works fine".

      There's no room for "maybe a faulty batch? Or some popular app that literally burns through the battery juice?"

      Anyway, I'll bring the soda.

  • Wow, I'm not surprised at reading this. Obviously simple. The more apps you are running, the more CPU you require.. the more power you need. If the apps require power for wireless/GPS transmission to boot, well, a short battery life is to be expected. Same as any other cell phone with features like games, messaging, etc... When I leave Windows Messenger running idle on my cell phone, the battery life goes down to 3 hrs.. If I close it, I last a full day. Ironic, because that's the behavior for all bat
    • by andi75 (84413)

      Except that you can't run multiple apps on the iPhone, the only exceptions are the phone software, the ipod and internet tethering. But you can't run more than one custom application at the same time. Once you press the menu button to switch to another app the old one gets immediately suspended.

    • by cheros (223479)

      Umm, no - the device should still be able to function safely when used normally - no excuses. Besides, there isn't that much multitasking going on, that's exactly one of the current complaints about the platform (I can live with it, however).

      I'm thus happy that my current contract isn't at an end yet - I suspect this will be taken care of the few months I still have to go (not willing to pay extra for the switch other than the changed data tariff).

    • The more apps you are running, the more CPU you require

      iPhone is not capable of multi-tasking. Only one application is running at any time; The rest are "hibernated" so they (mostly) wake to the state they were last in when you load them again.

      It's one of, if not the, biggest issues with the iPhone OS in my opinion.

    • by rbarreira (836272) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @07:16AM (#28540447) Homepage

      Wow, I'm not surprised at reading this. Obviously simple.

      Yes, I mean... who the hell wouldn't expect their new phone to quickly turn pink?

  • Easy fix (Score:5, Funny)

    by LinuxAndLube (1526389) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:52AM (#28540103)
    Why don't these people just put in a new battery?
  • Http://suregottold.com
  • by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @06:12AM (#28540167)

    iPhones Glow Pink

    From what I hear about Apple fanboys this will be seen as an advantage.

  • Sounds familiar (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DissociativeBehavior (1397503) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @06:29AM (#28540237)
    I encountered the same issue when I was working on a low-end 2G phone. The problem was related to the DSP coprocessor. The plastic case almost melted after overheating for a night during a test campain. The device seemed to work OK after that. The problem is that maybe some components were harmed and it could cause some random failures afterwards. I would definetely ask for a new device after such overheating.
  • by jht (5006) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @07:14AM (#28540439) Homepage Journal

    I've got a white 32GB iPhone 3GS, and no problems that severe. If I'm in extended use of the GPS/compass it does get warmer to the touch, as it will also do on lengthy phone calls (15 minutes plus or so). It also gets warmer when (surprise) playing games for an extended period. It hasn't gotten uncomfortably hot, nor has there been any discoloration so far.

    As far as software issues, the only major one I've seen so far is that the Jawbone Prime headset I'd been using as my main headset has been having trouble with this phone - it disassociates sometimes and the button sequence to turn off the headset LED doesn't work anymore. My other headset (a Jabra 530) works fine so I've been using it.

    Battery life has been pretty good so far - from my unscientific study it seems a little better than the 3G I had before that my wife now uses. Game playing drops it faster than voice or data, and web surfing does use more juice on 3G than on wifi.

    There were a lot of BT and power management issues in the initial release of 2.0 last year. It took Apple a couple of releases over the first month or two to get things all the way right, and I suspect we'll have a couple of fast releases now as well.

    The Apple trend with every new OS release (Mac or iPhone) is basically this:

    - Limited public testing if any. Code freeze about a month before shipping.

    - Initial bugfix release (.01) 2-4 weeks after the product shipped, with all the glaring bugs that they found after freeze addressed. This rarely has any problems found in initial public release addressed unless they're super-critical.

    - About 2 months after release we get a .02 version that covers the main issues found after they got the product into public release. By this time the software is pretty solid - subsequent point releases during the product lifetime will add occasional minor features but mainly fix performance issues and/or security holes. Almost all the releases afterwards will be in the first 6-8 months when it's an iPhone OS - roughly 4 months before the next year's new OS version Apple will abandon the current one and concentrate on the announcements for the coming year.

    So next February or so Apple will stop fixing 3.0 in preparation for 4.0 which will be announced around March and ship around June.

    They basically do the same thing with the desktop OS - just the overall life cycle is longer. but the initial freeze/release/patch1/patch2 cycle applies there as well and on roughly the same timing.

    So basically what I'm saying is that the problems that some 3GS users are having (but not me) are assuredly legit, and will likely be addressed in one of the first two bug-fix software releases for the phone. The first release will probably come in the next week or two and may address it - and within 1-2 months it will almost certainly be taken care of through power management. Not to mention that I'm sure my Bluetooth issue will be fixed as well. You get used to this. At least modern phones (iPhone, Android, Palm Pre) can and do now regularly get software updates to address issues.

    I remember an era BI (before iPhone) where the carriers controlled software tightly, and the cell companies rarely or never released patches. There's no real good reason why Windows Mobile phones virtually never get OS updates for the installed base, or why the PalmOS Treos would take over a year to fix minor issues. Now that's properly in the hands of the vendors, where it belongs.

  • by Thumper_SVX (239525) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @08:46AM (#28540971) Homepage

    A lot of modern smartphones suffer these exact problems because of the push for more and more features. Basically, a feature add will add power draw, and will also tend to add CPU usage as the applications to run these new features crank up the utilization.

    I don't have an iPhone... I have too much invested in the Windows Mobile platform dating back almost a decade to really migrate at this point (plus, I write some of my own little applets and upload to my phone all the time... can't do that with the iPhone without jailbreaking). However, I DO currently have an HTC Touch Pro, my previous device being an HTC Tilt. The majority of the time, the phone is excellent; it runs cool, it does exactly what I want when I want and doesn't have too many horribly nefarious bugs, though much of that probably has to do with the custom ROM I flashed to it. But if I start activating devices such as GPS, WiFi and other features like that it sometimes shocks me how hot the phone will get. Particularly if I'm using, say Google Maps as a GPS application.

    Google Maps will turn on my GPS antenna, and then will start pulling data using my 3G connection (I have traffic turned on, too). Both of these add significant power draw and heat generation, and the GM app itself will tend to crank up the CPU. Because of the draw, and because most of the time I only use these functions together in the car I plug my phone into my car charger. But you know what? Then the screen stays on... more heat. Literally, my phone can get to the point where I'd be really uncomfortable holding that thing up to my ear... thank for Bluetooth headsets! Even if I skip Google Maps and use TomTom Mobile, it forces the screen to stay on so again the battery life goes into the toilet and I end up with a rather nice hand warmer on cold days.

    Does it concern me? A little. I get concerned that this heat is going to shorten the life of my device significantly, but on the flip side I'm enough of a phone geek I tend to trade out my phones every couple of years anyway to get the "latest and greatest". Also, the Touch Pro has not shown any significant signs of being a problem child... it all works.

    The Touch Pro has been pretty well engineered by HTC; they design a LOT of handsets for a lot of different markets. As a result, their experience in engineering these kind of form factors is really good. Their smartphone devices will dissipate heat quite well, and be none the worse for wear. My old Tilt still works as well as the day I bought it ~3 or 4 years ago, except that it's been dropped quite a number of times. Apple's problem is that they really don't have that experience, and as such they DO make mistakes with heat dissipation and things like that in a small form factor like the iPhone. They've done it before; their focus on aesthetics often takes over from the engineering portion... and while I know Apple has some phenomenal engineers, there's no replacement for experience. I think the engineering margins they built into the 3GS were just too tight for such a large CPU bump and general hardware bump. Everyone loves the fact that Apple used the same case (almost) for the 3GS... which is great for all those dock-equipped things that were designed for the 3G... but when you make such a significant jump from the old architecture to the new, something has to give if the margins for error were not factored correctly.

    I suspect that Apple will provide a fix soon that will underclock the Cortex A8 core in the 3GS to eliminate some of that heat. Thankfully that's an easy solution until the hardware is reengineered a little. It should be possible to do that by maybe 10% and the average user will never notice the difference. If they're truly running it at 600Mhz, then the A8 provides a nice little mechanism to drop back to 500Mhz, or further. If they just provide a software limit so that the CPU doesn't crank up to a higher rate during high utilization, then it should take care of the problem. Yes, I have a Beagleboard which runs almost the same hardware (thou

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cerberusss (660701)

      I don't have an iPhone... I have too much invested in the Windows Mobile platform dating back almost a decade to really migrate at this point (plus, I write some of my own little applets and upload to my phone all the time... can't do that with the iPhone without jailbreaking)

      Strictly speaking, it's not necessary to jailbreak. If you join the developer program (costs $100), you'll be able to upload your software to your phone. You can authorize other phones too.

  • I haven't had a chance to try the new iPhones, but I remember my black Motorola flip phone from about 8 or so years ago doing exactly that. Calling from the car and thinking it was almost too hot to hold to my head. Now, that was also 8 years ago, so you'd think they'd be better, but it's not like it's the first phone to scald your face off.
  • Early adopters.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by asdf7890 (1518587) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @08:54AM (#28541041)

    Just goes to show you shouldn't be the first to buy any new gadget.

    Early adopters always get burnt in some way. It is just more literal in this case.

  • by PeterChenoweth (603694) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @09:11AM (#28541193)
    How short our collective geek memories are. This same phenomenon occurred last year when Apple released 2.0.

    Around August of '08 there was an outcry of users complaining about diminished battery life + hot iPhones. Both on the then-new 3G, and on the original. I had this problem with my iPhone 2G (the original) after installing iPhone 2.0. My battery life went from lasting several days to barely making it through one, with the phone getting quite warm if I used it for more than a few minutes straight. It would even stay warmer than ambient when I wasn't using it. A sure sign that *something* was awry. In September of '08, Apple released 2.1 and that completely solved the problem for me and many other users. Battery life + heat levels returned to pre-2.0 levels. Problem solved.

    So it's entirely possible that this is some sort of software/power management issue. And if that's the case, Apple will (ok, should) be able to fix it. And if that *is* the case, then Apple really needs to take another look at their iPhone power management coding/testing procedures. ;-)

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