Thursday, December 20, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple Says Bent iPad Pros Are Not Defective

Chris Welch (Hacker News):

Apple has confirmed to The Verge that some of its 2018 iPad Pros are shipping with a very slight bend in the aluminum chassis. But according to the company, this is a side effect of the device’s manufacturing process and shouldn’t worsen over time or negatively affect the flagship iPad’s performance in any practical way. Apple does not consider it to be a defect.

[…]

And I’ve seen others from folks who are insistent their iPad came that way out of the box.

Apple is now saying that in some cases, the latter is true. And I can personally vouch for that: my 11-inch iPad Pro showed a bit of a curve after two weeks. Apple asked if I would send it their way so the engineering team could take a look. But the replacement 11-inch iPad Pro I received at Apple’s Downtown Brooklyn store exhibited a very slight bend in the aluminum as soon as I took off the wrapper.

At first, I thought this was a parody. This is what Apple wants its brand to stand for? A premium product that is bent right out of the box?

Juli Clover (tweet):

Shortly after the new 2018 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models shipped out to customers, some MacRumors readers found bends in their tablets. Unsurprisingly, new iPad owners were upset and disappointed to find unwanted defects in devices that cost hundreds of dollars, but according to new information from Apple, a slight bend isn’t out of the ordinary.

[…]

The Verge suggests that those who are irritated by the bend “shouldn’t have any trouble exchanging or returning” an iPad Pro at an Apple Store, but that statement likely only applies to devices that are still under the return policy. Apple typically does not replace devices experiencing issues that are not considered manufacturing defects, so it’s not entirely clear if those with bent tablets outside of the return period will be able to get replacements.

Zac Cichy:

Something is definitely off about Apple’s wording here. I can’t imagine getting a brand new iPad at $800+ with a “slight bend” and that not being a defect. My guess is they’ll mostly replace these and their PR wording here is legally driven.

Worst case scenario: you immediately return the iPad and buy a new one.

I just seriously hope Apple stores aren’t actually telling customers that a slight bend in their very expensive new device is within the range of normal expectation.

Nut Button:

Like I’m sure that’s a manufacturing issue but Apple has earned a rep for sweating the tiniest of details so it’s a little jarring seeing stuff like that

Michael Love:

This is a pointlessly stupid response from Apple, yes - would be so easy to just say a few of them are bent by accident + welcome users to exchange bent devices within 14 days after receiving them, sounds way better + unlikely to cost them much since people would do that anyway.

If anything, encouraging people to exchange bent models would increase the odds of the people who were exchanging them anyway taking a chance on a second unit rather than just giving up on the whole thing.

Dave Mark:

Is this really normal? Look at the image in the linked article. Certainly seems like a manufacturing defect to me.

Marko Karppinen:

Apple should decide whether they want to be the company that ships iPads a little bent from the factory and calls it normal, or the company that charges up to $1899 for an iPad. Doing both seems untenable

Nick Heer:

These are thousand-dollar devices designed and engineered by a company known for its fastidious attention to detail; there is simply no excuse why they should be bent as a result of its manufacturing.

Previously: iPad Pro 2018, The Magic Keyboard With Numeric Keypad Is Apparently Bendy, iPhone 6 Bendgate and Touch Disease, Just Avoid Sitting in That Way.

Update (2018-12-23): Quinn Nelson:

Apple’s in the wrong. It’s one thing if a customer bends the device, but shipping a product bent is entirely different. It’s a defect.

Dan Riccio (9to5Mac):

Relative to the issue you referenced regarding the new iPad Pro, its unibody design meets or exceeds all of Apple’s high quality standards of design and precision manufacturing. We’ve carefully engineered it and every part of the manufacturing process is precisely measured and controlled.

Our current specification for iPad Pro flatness is up to 400 microns which is even tighter than previous generations. This 400 micron variance is less than half a millimeter (or the width of fewer than four sheets of paper at most) and this level of flatness won’t change during normal use over the lifetime of the product.

This seems like a response to an entirely different issue. Or is he implying that all the photos are fake or somehow distorted?

John Gruber:

400 microns = 0.4mm. The question is how noticeable is “up to 400 microns” of bend?

If 300-400 microns is noticeably bent, I think this is a problem. The photos of bent iPads people are sharing look like they’re bent a lot more than 0.4mm. But it’s only 5.9mm thick so maybe 0.4mm is noticeable?

Nick Heer:

I can’t remember this being an issue previously. Maybe the flat edges make it more noticeable, too?

Michael Love:

400 microns = nothing approaching the bend in this photo or the sort of bend people have been complaining about. So this definitely looks like a botched PR response rather than an actual BendGate. (which I guess is a good sign Apple-QA-wise, but still a stupid mistake)

Juli Clover:

Riccio’s email also says that a company statement was not included in the original information disseminated by The Verge, and that Apple will be reaching out to media outlets to comment officially.

Odd to provide two official responses but to postpone the official “statement” until, I guess, after the holidays.

Update (2018-12-27): Michael Simon:

In his email to a disgruntled iPad owner, Apple VP Riccio said a statement from Apple regarding the situation would be forthcoming. One might assume it would wax intellectual about acceptable microns and the “specification for iPad Pro flatness.” But a week later, the statement still hasn’t arrived, which is all you need to know about Apple’s handling of this whole situation.

With scattered reports across forums, we have no way of knowing how many iPads are affected, but even if it’s only less than 20 iPads total, Apple would be wise to recognize that any bent iPad is a problem, and offer replacement units and refunds on any AppleCare costs. This is literally about damage control, and a small token would go a long way toward protecting Apple’s premium brand promise.

Update (2018-12-28): Bob Burrough:

Here’s a render of two iPad Pro sized blocks, edge on. The block on the left is unbent. The block on the right has a 400 micron bend.

Michael Gartenberg:

Returned my iPad this morning. Perhaps it was within Apple tolerances but Apple tolerances shouldn’t allow for a clear noticeble bend. Much as monitors with noticeble dead pixels aren’t acceptable either.

Update (2019-01-01): scott:

Apple won’t replace these bent iPad’s. This is what Apple considers normal now and what the Apple press considers to be the best quality hardware in the world.

Update (2019-01-08): See also: The Talk Show.

Apple (via MacRumors):

These precision manufacturing techniques and a rigorous inspection process ensure that these new iPad Pro models meet an even tighter specification for flatness than previous generations. This flatness specification allows for no more than 400 microns of deviation across the length of any side — less than the thickness of four sheets of paper. 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.

If you believe your new iPad Pro does not meet the specifications described in this article, please contact Apple Support. Apple offers a 14-day return policy for products purchased directly from Apple.

Nick Heer:

Apple is sticking by its assertion that tolerances for flatness are finer on newer iPads than on older models. But it is equally true that we have not previously seen reports of iPads bent in this fashion.

Update (2019-02-04): Juli Clover:

Over on the MacRumors forums, our readers who have run into the bending issue have been sharing their experiences with replacements, Apple support, and more, so that thread is well worth checking out if you’ve purchased a new iPad Pro model with a bend in it.

9 Comments

If Apple really stands behind these bent products, let them use a bent iPad Pro for their website product photography and ultra-closeup videos.

This is Tim Cook's Apple.

What happens if the bend is discovered after the 14-day return window? Is it treated as accidental damage, or will Apple refuse to ever repair/replace it even under AppleCare+ because they don’t consider it a problem?

If it wasn't Apple, may be I would have been fine with it.
If it wasn't $799, and just $299 like all other Android, may be I would have been fine with it.

BUT FOR PETE SAKE, owning an Apple product now brings more shame than joy.

@remmah, Refuse to repair or replace a it is not consider a defect. And to make things worst, 14-Day return is not available in all countries.

Will Notbepublished

@Ed "Refuse to repair or replace a it is not consider a defect"

If Apple does not consider it to be a defect, shouldn't this be listed in the product specs?

@JonyFive

Not only the photography but also the sketches. On the iPad specs page, the iPad is not bent at all in the "Buttons and Connectors" section. https://www.apple.com/ipad-pro/specs/

It's pretty clear that Apple expects most of these iPads to eventually develop a slight bent, so they have no option but to claim that it is a feature, rather than a bug. To be fair, it's also unlikely to be much of a problem for most people, and it's probably borderline impossible to build such a large, thin electronic device that is also entirely rigid.

>If Apple does not consider it to be a defect, shouldn't this be listed in the product specs?

Sure, curved TVs are apparently something people want, so Apple should just advertise this as the curved iPad.

@JonyFive: “This is Tim Cook's Apple.”

Nope. This is really no different to Steve Jobs’ Apple, where design ambitions would periodically outstrip materials science (Mac Cube). The difference is Steve Jobs’ Apple would internally acknowledge their mistake and be onto the #NextBigThing within the year, whereas Soda Man II will still be trying to flog the same flawed design in five years’ time (Mac Trashcan).

According to Apple's VP of hardware engineering Dan Riccio, the current flatness specification is to within 400 microns. He says this is tighter than it has been in the past and will not increase with use. So I think this is just an imaginary issue.

@Norm

Sure, these are just optic illusions and lens deformations…

https://bgr.com/2018/12/19/ipad-pro-bent-apple-2018/
https://www.macworld.com/article/3329747/iphone-ipad/no-apple-bent-ipad-pros-are-not-acceptable.html

And AirPower is available in all Apple Stores.

@NormM
You think the photos and complaints are faked publicity stunts? Based on a single statement from the "You're holding it wrong" company? Bold stance.

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