iPhone Monitors Temperature: Might Save Overheating, Won’t Help Global Warming

HT1871_1Earlier in the week, we mentioned reports of Palm Pre hardware issues, but now it seems to be Apple’s turn to take some heat. Gearlog points out an Apple Knowledge Base article that covers the normal operating temperature of the iPhone 3G and 3GS. It’s basically a common-sense approach: Use the device in temps between 32 degrees and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, don’t store it in any extreme climates, etc.

Although there was a recent picture of a white iPhone 3GS exhibiting what looked to be burned plastic on the back casing, I haven’t had any issues with my unit. I have the same one. I don’t doubt there are some handsets that run hotter than others; with massive production runs, there are bound to be a few bad handsets getting through the QC process. That number could be dozens or it could be thousands. I wonder how legitimate that picture was, though.

According to the knowledge base article, there is some type of internal temperature monitoring in the handset. When it detects that the operating temperature is too high, it displays the warning message I’ve shown to the right. This is the first time I’ve ever seen this message. It’s reasonable to believe that if someone’s white iPhone 3GS was hot enough to discolor the plastic case, the handset owner would have seen the warning screen, no? There’s some assumption on my part, but it’s a relatively sound argument. If it were me, I would have posted a screenshot of the warning message along with the burned back for a little more credibility.

In any case, the Apple support article didn’t hit today. It was last updated on June 25, and I don’t know when it was first published. For all I know, it could have been there since the introduction of the 3G and was simply updated to include the 3GS. While I wouldn’t call it an “advisory” to address a current product problem, it is useful information. Personally, I hope I never see the temperature warning screen again. For the record, my Pre is still in good shape, although it tends to run a little warm, too. With the faster processors in both the Pre and iPhone 3GS, I’m expecting these to run warmer than older phones, especially when doing CPU-intensive activities.

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