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Hot iPhone 3GS Is Getting Too Hot, Reports Say

Hot iPhone 3GS Is Getting Too Hot, Reports Say
June 29, 2009 9:32AM

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French Web sites have reported overheating problems with Apple, Inc.'s iPhone 3GS. Photos show the iPhone 3GS with red marks around the battery. Apple forum users are also complaining about overheating, citing problems with iPhone OS 3.0 and 3G. An analyst thinks the reports may be overblown.

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News reports have cited overheating problems with the iPhone 3GS, but are the reports justified? Or is Apple's latest device headed for a major recall?

Le Journal du Geek, a French technology Web site, posted a story and a photo describing one consumer's issues with the iPhone 3GS. The story says the consumer purchased an iPhone 3GS and the phone got very hot while using the GPS service. The consumer later noticed reddish marks around the circumference of the battery.

The posted photo shows a white iPhone 3GS with a rectangular glow on the backside. Nowhere Else, another French site, posted a series of photos of the iPhone 3GS with the same marks. It isn't clear if this is the same phone photographed multiple times.

Overheating iPhones

Apple's discussion forum is also beginning to see complaints from iPhone 3GS users citing overheating. Some are calling the trouble proof that Apple needs to fix iPhone OS 3.0 power-management issues. Others are blaming the 3G capability.

"I've had my iPhone 3Gs running on 3.0 for a week now, and it still overheats. I've rebooted, restored, drained my battery, and switched chargers, and still it burns. I know I'm not alone; I've seen photos of white iPhones with pink heat marks on its back. Additionally, my battery life only last about four hours of use," wrote a forum user named jcampos1908.

Although there are only a few posts on the topic on the Apple forum, apparently the overheating issue isn't new. iPhone 3G users previously reported some overheating. Some users reported getting burned by the device, while others reported problems charging the battery without the device heating up.

Battery Recall Coming?

Is Apple in for a major recall? Michael Gartenberg, a vice president at Interpret, doesn't think so. "So many of these things become overblown Internet legends. Who knows what the circumstances were or how the person [in France] carried the device," Gartenberg said. "I just wouldn't begin to see a pattern here based on these reports that may or may not have occurred."

Apple has witnessed issues with the iPhone in the past. Last summer there was ongoing speculation and finger-pointing in the wake of dropped calls, abrupt network switches, poor reception, and service interruptions on the iPhone 3G. The glitches are reportedly related to a chip inside Apple's music-playing cell phone.

Apple tried to remedy the woes through a software upgrade. But the update release that was supposed to address bugs caused new issues among iPhone 3G users.

Some point to potential battery issues with the iPhone 3G and 3GS. Apple is no stranger to battery recalls. In 2006, Apple launched a major recall program on some of its 15-inch MacBook Pro batteries. Companies like Hewlett-Packard and Dell were also been plagued by faulty batteries that same year.

Apple has not yet publicly responded to the issue.

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