Apple Answers iPad Pro Bendgate with New Support Doc

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Worried about a visible bend in your new iPad Pro? You shouldn’t be, Apple says in a newly posted support document, since it’s just a byproduct of the manufacturing process used for the 11- and 12.9-inch tablets.

ipad pro sideThe new support document, posted late yesterday (Jan. 4), features Apple’s most extensive comments to date on new iPad Pros that came out of their box with a noticeable bend. Last month, some iPad Pro owners reported that their new tablets had a slight though visibly curved chassis – something Apple later confirmed in a few brief public statements on the issue.

At the time, Apple said the bend resulted from a cooling process involving the iPad’s metal and plastic parts, and that tablet met Apple’s standards for design and manufacturing. It reiterates those points in the new support document, though with more detail.

Cellular models of the iPad Pro, which seem to be the most prone to this issue, feature small vertical bands that let parts of the tablet’s enclosure act as cellular antennas, Apple says.

“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,” the support document reads. “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 its flatness specification “allows for no more than 400 microns of deviation across the length of any side,” which the company adds is less than the thickness of four sheets of paper. That’s apparently an even tighter specification than in previous iPad generations.

So why the bend? According to Apple’s support document, “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.”

That’s not likely to be of much comfort to new iPad Pro owners who place as much a premium on aesthetics as they do performance. The support document reiterates that Apple has a 14-day return policy on products bought directly from the company, and it instructs iPad Pro owners who think the bend in their tablet exceeds the 400-micron standard to contact Apple Support.

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