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Deadfish iPhones send users into deep freeze

When cool isn't cool enough for WiFi

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Some iPhone and iPod Touch users who've upgraded to the latest 2.2.1 firmware are reporting problems connecting to WiFi, though in some instances, going outside or sticking the handset in a freezer is providing relief.

Quite what's going on isn't clear, despite numerous suggestions and discussions on the support forums - Apple is being as communicative as ever - but it seems that some users upgrading to version 2.2.1 have found the WiFi functionality failing completely. For some, the updated router software is working, though most users report that cooling down the iPhone provides a temporary respite and some have managed to convince Apple to provide replacement units.

Heat is a significant problem for mobile phones. Faster processors generate more heat, which has to be disposed of somehow. This generally takes place through conduction to the case, which makes heat disposal a big part of device design. The iPhone has two PCBs sandwiched together, making heat even more of a problem, with the proximity of chips meaning that overheating can affect any component, including the WiFi capability.

Of course, with no official word from Apple this is just speculation, and we're not advising anyone experiencing problems to apply an ice pack. Some users have had their iPhones replaced on visiting an Apple Store, so anyone having problems should seek recourse there.

Not that this issue seems very widespread, and if replacements are solving the problem then it's a manufacturing issue, not a design one. The main complaint seems to be Apple's reluctance to be drawn on the problem - failing to respond to queries about the issue and generally treating users as an ongoing source of revenue rather than valued customers that need support when things take a turn for the worst. ®

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