Tuesday, April 6, 2010

iPads: No Fun in the Sun

I know I can't seem to stop talking about it, but it's not just me. The new Apple iPad seems to be the story du jour in the tech world at the moment. Small wonder as opening day sales alone topped 300,000.

Now the latest tidbit of news information surrounding the current "it-gadget," is that it doesn't like the sun. iPad users all over the country have been reporting that when exposed to sunlight for an hour or so, iPads go into a kind of self-induced sleep mode, flashing a message that says "iPad needs to cool down before you can use it. " Users have generally reported this happening after a half an hour to an hour in the sun. However, some iPads are apparently more sun-sensitive than others, going into the same mode after only ten minutes in the sun.

It would seem that in our current ozone-depleted age, the iPad, like it's user, would do best to avoid the sun. So why exactly do Apple's new tablet computers fall victim to this strange cyber-sunstroke? In truth most computers and tech devices are susceptible to heat. During my days as an in-house writer for a dot.com I can remember the mainframe room being something like a walk in refrigerator filled with hard drives and processors.

Portable tech gadgets are no different. Like star athletes, heat and overuse will leave them feeling a little depleted. The iPad apparently has the same suggested operating temperatures as the iPhone (between 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit). However just as a Sumo wrestler is perhaps more likely to become over-heated than a jockey, the iPads size apparently makes it more sun-sensitive than it's smaller cousin.

The good news is that there is a simple remedy. Just as an overheated or over-exerted athlete can drink water and apply an icepack, the iPad can be cooled back into optimal performance by enjoying some time in the shade, or as one New York City user found, the fridge.

So until someone develops sunscreen for portable computers (sure you laugh now, but wait!) it looks like it's best to limit your iPad's exposure to the sun. For iPads, much like humans, sun exposure would appear to be unhealthy after more than an hour.

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