New iPad: Too Hot to Handle?

>NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There they go again. An Apple ( AAPL) product recently came to market, which means widespread elation as well as braying in corners of the Internet about a supposed problem.

Granted: one day one of these problems might prove meaningful. But the media tend to run with alarmist stories on these purportedly fatal flaws, without at least pointing to the history of these concerns snapping off or fizzling. Sometimes they are much ado about nothing; other times they are set to bed with an easy software fix or free bumper.

The point is, from Antennagate to contretemps over battery life, these shouts of consumer outrage have not amounted to much. That's worth mentioning, but the media love a good hair-pulling fight so much, it often (willfully) forgets.

Look at The Washington Post, which ran a story called: "Apple's new iPad: How hot is too hot?" . It surveyed medical studies about cellphones and cancer and even touched upon a supposedly related laptop malady called "toasted skin syndrome," complete with a photograph of bare and toasted legs. Gross. But they didn't mention--even in passing--that if history has taught us anything, it is that there is probably less to this panic than meets the eye.

Gizmodo went with this as a lead: "Apple's unapologetically selling a new iPad that'll go up to 116 degrees in your hands while playing a game. Maybe they should have done something about that, yeah." And no caveats in the form of historical context.

Look: maybe we'll all burst into flames while using our new iPads. Or spontaneously combust. But maybe a system of communication that allows everyone a megaphone harnessed to a class action law culture means that these issues get overblown.

At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.

For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

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