When the 2018 family of iPad Pros were released in October, Apple championed their all-new design which was thinner and lighter than previous generations. The company also touted new features like USB-C connectivity, blazing fast A12X processors and the first implementation of Face ID on an iPad.
However, it’s the thinness of the device that brought some unwanted attention to the iPad Pro soon after release. JerryRigEverything made a big splash last month with a YouTube video that showed the iPad Pro bending with what appeared to be a minimal amount of force. Since that time, some iPad Pro owners have reported that their tablets have come with bent frames straight out of the box, or have bent in regular everyday [non-abusive] use.
In a report yesterday, The Verge said that it received a response from Apple regarding the matter, and stated the following with regards to bendy iPad Pros:
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.
Needless to say, the internet lit into the response as an effort by Apple to sweep the issue under the rug. Even some Apple-centric publications took the company to task over the response from the company, with AppleInsider writing that "It's not acceptable."
We're now getting another dose of commentary from Apple, this time from the company’s VP of hardware engineering, Dan Riccio. According to Riccio, the 10.5- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro design "meets or exceeds" Apple's high quality standards. The following email was sent by Riccio to a customer that inquired around the recent reports of bending iPad Pros.
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. Note, these slight variations do not affect the function of the device in any way.
Again, thanks for reaching out and I hope the above explanation addresses your concerns.
According to yesterday's reporting, minor variances in the final shape of the iPad Pro is a result of the cooling process that the chassis goes through during production. Although the bending appears to be most pronounced in LTE-equipped models, which have a plastic "window" at the top for the cellular antennas, the Wi-Fi-only models are not immune to bending.