Cold as ice: Not shocking that physics affects Apple products

Metal may get cold but iPhones and MacBooks are just as weather-resistant as their competitors.


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The calendar might say “2016” but the same old rules apply: If you can complain about something tangentially related to Apple and make it solely about Apple, what are you waiting for, write it up already. Time’s a-wastin’.

Writing for Gawker, Jordan Sargent complains that “Apple Products Are Not Built for Winter.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Susie Ochs.)

Lately, the thought of opening my Macbook first thing in the morning flushes me with dread.

“Ugh, what tabs did I leave open from last ni—OH GOD.”

No, owning up to late night surfing is not Jordan’s existential dread. It’s something else.

I know my Macbook will be miserably cold to the touch.

OK, but imagine how the MacBook feels, some fleshy meat sack with morning breath and bed head stumbling toward it. We must be disgusting to them. Don’t make this all about you, Jordan.

Not all of us have to scrape a windshield, and my super will shovel my building’s f***ing walk, but we’re all bound together by the way in which our personal electronics fail to account for the new reality that is freezing weather.

Did Sargent just fly in from the equatorial zones or something because the Macalope is pretty sure the Earth’s axis has been tilted for a while now. At least since the Nixon administration. Possibly longer.

Maybe this true for all brands of electronics. I definitely know it’s true for Apple products.

Welp, that’s all you need to write an article about it!

Sort answer, though, Jordan: Yes. The Macalope just touched a Windows laptop he has, and surprisingly, things that are metal will become cold when the ambient temperature drops to are we seriously discussing this? Because the Macalope checked his course schedule and Physics 101 is a Monday/Wednesday class not a Tuesday/Thursday.

…winter is not exactly the season of refinement and optimization. It’s the season of redundancy and bulk. Apple’s approach to hardware is either ignorant or in denial of this.

It’s downright dignorant.

According to Apple, anything under 32 degrees is dangerously cold for its phones, tablets, and watches, and anything under 50 degrees might put your multi-thousand dollar laptop at risk.

No! Wrong! And even the images that Sargent embeds show this. The iPhone “works best” at temperatures above 32 degrees and the MacBook 50 degrees. It’s called the “Comfort Zone,” not the “Strait between Scylla and Charybdis.”

On Monday night in New York, the temperature dropped to 18 degrees, though with the wind chill Apple’s own weather app said it felt more like seven degrees. It won’t be 50 degrees here—at which point my computer will be back in its “comfort zone”—for at least another four months.

Perhaps you should try this new thing that's very popular with people of all kinds nowadays called “indoor computing.”

Still, I find it curious that Apple puts its own products in peril at temperatures annually experienced by some Americans, but not others.

Peril. He used that word, which in no way accurately describes the situation. Sometimes the Macalope feels he has to spell out the fact that a writer actually wrote a thing because it seems so fantastical that he fears his readers will not believe him.

If you’re wondering what the operating temperatures are for devices from other vendors of consumer products, well, they’re exactly the same. Only Apple is worth mentioning, of course, because tech journalism is a rough beast that slouches only toward Cupertino.

Sargent speculates the problem—there’s apparently a problem—might stem from the fact that California has relatively mild temperatures compared to the lands north of Castle Black where he plans to do all his computing. And thus completes the “research” conducted in the article.

This piece could just as easily have been about why Apple’s products still take physical form. “They are laughably useless for when we ascend to our non-corporeal state!” Hey, the Macalope knows it’s hard to get back into the swing of things after the holidays. But let’s try a little harder.

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