Article Title
Article Title

Overheating

by Josh Zeisel

One of the things that continues the narrative that humans are just slightly smarter animals is our tendency to react. Instant reactions are indicative of something an animal might do if they do not understand what they are looking at. Animals do not take time to evaluate what they observe, or study the facts and try to find a reasonable answer. You will tend to hear a scientist say that they will look for the simplest answer first to a problem they have never seen before. It seems logical. Why would you spend any extended amount of time looking for the answer to the problem when the simplest answer works? Scientists are trained to think this way, engineers too. So why can’t everyone else think this way?

When the new iPad arrived and the reviewers were putting the device through their various tests, many harped on the fact that the unit runs hotter than the previous iterations. And as reactions go, anything “negative” that is associated with an Apple product (especially iPhones and iPads) will go viral on the internet. Blogs will blow up with information about the rumor -- some made up, some true -- Apple and Android fanboys will have a field day all over your internet.

But can we take a step back and look at the facts, please? Yes, the new unit runs hotter, 10 degrees Fahrenheit, but there are perfectly logical reasons for this. The new unit has a quad-core processor versus a dual-core processor and a higher resolution screen. It would make sense that these things need more power to run correctly. When an electronic component dissipates more power, the temperature increases. In fact, it’s a linear relationship for any electronic component.

So it makes sense for the unit to be hotter. Gizmodo previously published an article that does a great job and a bad job explaining the heat issue. They published a nice bar graph that shows just how hot the unit runs. It runs slightly warmer than a comfortable hand washing water temperature. They continue with an asinine commentary on how Apple does not care that their users think the unit is hot; an overreaction to a problem that Gizmodo has no idea about.

Two overreactions occurred in this case. Something that could be avoided so that efforts are spent dealing with more important issues. (Well, Gizmodo does not really have any important issues to deal with, but they make themselves easy to criticize). To some warm hand washing water might be comfortable. Too most, if not all, it is not hot. It is just hotter.

Gizmodo then comments on an organization that they think they know about, but only know as much as the rest of us. It is hard to fathom that Apple is not internally concerned about the heat issue. They understand that the unit is hotter; they knew it would be, and they decided that it would not be a public concern. Their calculations were wrong and it did become an issue, but as any organization works, it will probably deal with the issue and come up with a fix in the next design. Such was the case when Gizmodo called the iPhone 4 faulty for an issue that Apple eventually did fix in the Verizon iPhone 4 and the new iPhone 4S.

Over the weekend at my Passover seder, I heard that you should not buy the new iPad because of this very issue. When explaining how hot “hot” is, and the fact that some other tablets and all laptops run hotter than the iPad, the conversation quickly died. The recommendation to skip buying the iPad was made by an Apple employee, which is very surprising to hear in a time where you can walk into an Apple store and have anywhere between one and five Apple employees talking up the products without actually knowing about its intricacies, inside and out.

Overreaction is something that humans do everyday. Most of the time it does not have a big effect on others. A girlfriend may find a text message on her boyfriend’s phone from an unknown girl, or a manager may yell at his employee when they come in at 9:15 rather than 9:00. But when these reactions deal with real issues, it can become dangerous.

It seems as if humans have only evolved technologically. Other species use tools, but they never develop those skills past sticks for reaching or rocks for smashing. It is time for humans to take the next evolutionary step. The world would be a better place if we all just thought a little bit more about our present situation instead of instantly reacting.

Except in sports -- you get a pass through the excitement corollary.

Image courtesy of blakespot

 

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Josh Zeisel is a professional mechanical engineer and graduate of Boston University. His favorite meal is a chicken parm sub and an orange soda. On clear sunny days you might look up and find him flying something. Strike up a conversation with Josh at josh.zeisel[at]theinclusive.net