Thousands of Apple customers have complained that the latest iPhone models are overheating, a week after they debuted with cutting-edge chips.
Some buyers of the new iPhone 15 Pro and its larger Pro Max sibling have vented on online forums – including Apple’s customer support pages, Reddit and other social media platforms – that their devices are too hot to touch.
More than 2,000 people on Apple’s community forum said they had experienced the overheating issue. “I just got the iPhone 15 Pro today and it’s so hot I can’t even hold it for very long!” wrote one commenter.
“Listening to Spotify while using iMessage and it’s uncomfortably hot in my hands caseless,” said another post. “Even with a case it’s quite warm. This is pretty alarming as I’ve owned every iPhone since the 6 and never experienced this type of issue.”
However, other iPhone 15 buyers have denied experiencing the problem, which some commenters ascribed to cheap charging cables, excessive use of video or gaming apps, or a short-term rise in processing that ends after a new device’s initial set-up.
Apple declined to comment on the reports. Its customer support pages suggest that iPhones “might get warm” when setting up for the first time, using wireless charging or playing “graphics-intensive or processor-intensive apps”.
The iPhone 15 Pro is the first mass-market consumer device to be built around new 3nm chip technology from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the chipmaker that supplies Apple as well as Nvidia and many other Silicon Valley companies.
Apple described the A17 Pro chip as “game-changing”, including the “biggest redesign in the history” of its custom processors for rendering graphics and video games. The higher-tier models, which cost at least $999 (about €950), are also the first iPhones to feature titanium cases instead of aluminium or steel.
Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities known for his insights into Apple’s supply chain, said in a note earlier this week that overheating issues were likely “unrelated to TSMC’s advanced 3nm node”.
“The primary cause is more likely the compromises made in the thermal system design to achieve a lighter weight, such as the reduced heat dissipation area and the use of a titanium frame, which negatively impacts thermal efficiency,” he said.
Mr Kuo speculated that Apple could fix the problem with a software update, although doing so would likely impair the iPhones’ performance. He added that sales could be affected if the company did not “properly address the issue”.
Wall Street analysts say demand for Apple’s top-end iPhones appears to be lower than last year, based on comparisons of the device’s availability at retailers and wait times for customer shipments.
Analysts at UBS said in a note to clients this week that softer demand in China “suggests regional macro pressure and the launch of competitive product in the market could be having an impact”. Huawei’s new Mate 60 Pro, for example, has been selling out at retailers in China since its debut at the end of last month.
However, the basic iPhone 15 models appeared to be selling better than last year’s equivalent, UBS said, suggesting consumers were opting for cheaper alternatives at a time when many are feeling the squeeze from inflation. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2023