Apple faces backlash over alleged iPad Pro manufacturing defects

Apple’s 2018 iPad Pro is an amazing, stunningly thin device that seems to be experiencing some issues which are being blamed on defects in the manufacturing process.


The situation, dubbed “bendgate,” started in the MacRumors forums, where a user posted a picture of the problem.


The user started to question whether if it was just “a bad batch, or some slipped through quality checks.” Other users speculated that the situation could be caused by the flimsy structure of the new iPad.


The situation has become so widespread that one person wrote to Apple CEO Tim Cook about the problem, who ended up forwarding the email to Apple’s Vice President of Hardware Engineering, Dan Riccio. In his response, Riccio admitted that the iPads could be bent from the factory but claimed that this was not a problem as it was within Apple’s standards, which were highlighted as such:


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.


This becomes more of an issue once you realize that the price tag for the iPad Pro ranges from $900 to $1900 for the 12.9 inch top of the line, LTE-connected model. Riccio’s response led to both users and journalists in the tech space accusing Apple of not addressing the issue at all.


This week, Apple finally released an official response in the form of a technical support document. The document warns users about potential problems with Apple products, with mention that the bending issue affects the iPad Pro equipped with LTE:


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 claims that bending doesn’t exceed more than 400 micron, which is equivalent to less than four sheets of paper at most. This is apparently a tighter specification for flatness than previous generations as Apple put it. The note does continue to mention that the antenna splits make continue to deviate further during normal use. The note finishes claiming that the iPad won’t bend further during its lifetime due to the manufacturing process. For users who weren’t happy with bent units, Apple reminded them about its 14-day no questions asked return policy.


Those of you who don’t want to compromise the safety of your iPad Pro should look into our Safeguard Tablet Protection product. It will provide protection for your screen and will aid in maintaining the rigidity of your iPad Pro.