Apple Addresses iPad Pro ‘Bend’ Drama With Support Page Outlining Manufacturing Process


As if the weak demand for iPhones and the legal trouble that Apple has to deal with weren't enough for the Cupertino tech-based giant, it has recently emerged that the new iPad Pro could bend easily under small pressure.

Following reports that some 2018 iPad Pros shipped with bent bodies, Apple has posted a support page that outlines the manufacturing process in hopes to end the controversy. The iPad Pro uses a new manufacturing processes that injects plastic into milled channels in the aluminum enclosure.

Apple continues to explain that this manufacturing process results in iPad Pros with a tighter flatness specification that has "no more than 400 microns of deviation across the length of any side".

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According to Apple, the new design and the presence of antenna modems on the new iPad versions might make it easier for the slight bend to be visible by the customer from certain angles. If your iPad is bent enough that it's obvious and noticeable in daily use, there's a decent chance the bend exceeds 400 microns, and thus would be covered under warranty. "These small variances do not affect the strength of the enclosure or the function of the product and will not change over time through normal use", Apple writes on the support page. "After the plastic cools, the entire enclosure is finished with a precision CNC machining operation, yielding a seamless integration of plastic and aluminum into a single, strong enclosure".

This last sentence may well be true, but the fact that numerous people have complained about perceiving a bend means that users clearly see this as more of a problem than Apple does. If you're shopping for a 2017 iPad Pro you can pick from silver, space grey, gold and rose gold, which might be one reason why you would prefer the older model over the newer one. Apple has conducted an investigation and says the iPad Pro's aren't bent - we're just looking at them wrong. In terms of performance and features, it probably isn't - remember tablets from both years run iOS 12 and all the same apps - but if you really like the new design or the new Apple Pencil and keyboard accessories, you might consider splashing out. But Apple does not provide any further visual clarification of what a 400-micron deviation looks like. The new USB-C port on the 2018 iPad Pros can mirror the display to a compatible keyboard and read photos from a memory card, but you can't plug any USB-C device in there (external hard drives won't work).