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Is Apple's hot-selling iPhone prone to sunburn?

By Andrew Heining / July 1, 2009

A customer watches a Michael Jackson video on an iPhone 3GS at a Tokyo store June 26.

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Somehow this doesn't seem like the kind of tan most people look forward to in the summer.

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Reports have been trickling in that Apple's new iPhone 3GS gets too hot too handle (no, not because of pornography) during some uses – and may even heat up so much that white cases turn brown or pink.

PC World's Melissa J. Perenson reports that her iPhone got mighty toasty when she was using it last week:

I don't recall how long I had been using the handset, but I was making my way steadily along The Oregon Trail, thank you. And at some point, I became aware the handset had become very hot. Very, very hot -- not just on the back, but the entire length of the front face, too. I was using a game, and then later the Web browser for reading the news about Michael Jackson, all over a Wi-Fi connection while plugged in. And in those circumstances, well...toasty doesn't even describe how surprisingly hot it got. It was too hot to even put the phone against my face.

Apple hasn't released any official word on overheating or discoloration, and has closed a large thread on its discussion forums on the issue. This page, however, from the company's support site acknowledges the danger excessively hot temperatures pose to the device, and advises against leaving it in a car on a hot day, in direct sunlight for extended amounts of time, or, most interestingly, "using certain applications in hot conditions or direct sunlight for long periods of time, such as GPS tracking in a car on a sunny day or listening to music while in direct sunlight." Sound like the iPhone's a vampire to anyone else?

But the reports of discoloration didn't occur as a result of being outside or left in a car. This report from MacNN has it occurring around the battery, and from normal use.

For what it's worth, forum users and PC World's David Coursey report that a visit to an Apple retail store for an overheating iPhone can result in a replacement, if Apple determines there's something amiss, but it's done on a case-by-case basis.

What's your experience? Horizons blogger Amy Farnsworth and other Monitor iPhone 3GS owners report no overheating or discoloration, but what about you, readers? Is your iPhone heating up or changing colors? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter.

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