Apple Addresses 2018 iPad Pro 'Bending' Controversy, Says Subtle Deviations May Be More Visible Due to New Design

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Apple yesterday posted a support document addressing the 2018 iPad Pro bending snafu that's been circulating around the internet over the course of the last couple of weeks.

Image via the MacRumors Forums

In the document, Apple describes the new design of the unibody enclosure of the device and how cellular models use a new co-molding process to create the antenna bands in the chassis.
To provide optimal cellular performance, small vertical bands or "splits" in the sides of the iPad allow parts of the enclosure to function as cellular antennas. For the first time ever on an iPad, these bands are manufactured using a process called co-molding. In this high-temperature process, plastic is injected into precisely milled channels in the aluminum enclosure where it bonds to micro-pores in the aluminum surface. 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.
Apple says this process helps ensure the new iPad Pro models can meet a flatness specification of no more than a 400 micron deviation along any side, which less than the thickness of four sheets of paper. This is a tighter specification than on any previous model, but Apple says the new design could make any minor deviations more visible than before.
The new straight edges and the presence of the antenna splits may make subtle deviations in flatness more visible only from certain viewing angles that are imperceptible during normal use. 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.
New iPad Pro owners first began noticing slight bends in their tablets shortly after the launch of the new device, prompting them to share their concerns on the MacRumors forums. iPad Pro users were worried about the structural integrity of the device, which is the thinnest iPad ever.

Users are encouraged to contact Apple if they believe their devices do not meet Apple's stated specifications, and the company reminds users of a 14-day return period and one-year warranty available on Apple products.

Apple devices have previously had issues with bending, and there was major consumer outcry over a "bendgate" controversy with the iPhone 6 Plus, which saw the iPhone bending due to regular use. iPad Pro owners are, understandably, concerned about another bendgate situation.

Apple last month told The Verge that the slight bending that some iPad Pro models are exhibiting is a side effect of the manufacturing process, caused by cooling of the metal and plastic components, but the new support document offers additional detail on the situation. While no official Apple statement was included in The Verge's article, it clearly said that Apple did not consider the bend to be a manufacturing defect, leading to customer confusion.

(Thanks, Bob!)

Article Link: Apple Addresses 2018 iPad Pro 'Bending' Controversy, Says Subtle Deviations May Be More Visible Due to New Design
 

mozumder

macrumors 6502a
Mar 9, 2009
852
2,344
Do people actually think it's possible to manufacture a product without microscopic bends?

Every product is designed with a tolerance metric. There is no such thing as a product designed with zero tolerance. This includes ultra fancy luxury products (smaller tolerances) to crappy products (large tolerance levels).

You do know that your Macbook Pro, Macs, iPhones, etc.. all have these same tolerance levels, right?

Your BMW's and Teslas also have bends in them.
 

GuruZac

macrumors 6502a
Sep 9, 2015
963
2,169
If Apple is willing to provide replacements for every iPad Pro bent as in the picture in the OP, then fine, as they would find that bend far more than "microscopic". If they find that much bend normal then please, Apple, please pull your head out of your ass. You are not the only company building quality tech. Eventually, enough of this type of BS will catch up.
 
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Arran

macrumors 601
Mar 7, 2008
4,368
2,740
Atlanta, USA
I see macrumors is using that misleading and completely unrelated picture again.

The picture does NOT show a freshly-unboxed iPad.

The user who posted it on MacRumors (link) said it did NOT come bent from the factory:

... In less than a week it’s bent. Just had it in my backpack after a weekend of travel...
The only bent thing here is MacRumours respect for the truth.

UPDATE - MacRumors has now swapped the picture for a different one. MacRumor's explanation is at post #266
 
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lars666

macrumors 65816
Jul 13, 2008
1,027
878
The whole discussion (IMO) seems a ridiculous one because of the unlucky combination of the topic and this picture above ALWAYS used with the "Apple says bended iPads are normal" headline. Does Apple really consider a bending as extreme like THIS one as normal and refuse to replace it?! If not, the claimed 0,4mm tolerance (above the whole length of the iPad, if I understand it correctly) should not be NEARLY visible like this.
 

iZac

macrumors 68020
Apr 28, 2003
2,011
1,075
Shanghai
I can somewhat attest to this, my 12.9” gen. 2 has a slight bend (when I got it) which you can only observe when you run the edge of a ruler along it. It’s also very subtly concave in the centre. Maybe that’s why all their laptops have convex shapes and the Gen 1 iPad followed that design language too.

Perhaps we just need glass backs on these things. Bring back the iPhone 4 design for everything! :)
 

ThunderSkunk

macrumors 68030
Dec 31, 2007
2,905
2,380
Milwaukee Area
Do people actually think it's possible to manufacture a product without microscopic bends?

Every product is designed with a tolerance metric. There is no such thing as a product designed with zero tolerance. This includes ultra fancy luxury products (smaller tolerances) to crappy products (large tolerance levels).

You do know that your Macbook Pro, Macs, iPhones, etc.. all have these same tolerance levels, right?

Your BMW's and Teslas also have bends in them.
Tolerances do exist, and are what define everything from the function, durability, and cost of all products. When we produce performance products of machined aerospace alloys and composites for consumer market, the widest tolerance we hold is .003” and that’s just a form tolerance, purely aesthetic. Critical tolerances are .0002-.0004. Not being able to hold many hundreds of times that, means Apple & Foxconn never actually set a tolerance for that, or they’re not QAing conformance. There would be no reason to even specify a tolerance this great. You might as well put “just wing it” on your drawing. Either way, their non answers indicate they just don’t care to spend the time & money producing a consistent product here, in the thousand dollar plus “pro” tablet market...
 
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