Apple is no stranger to controversy. When the new iPad Pro was released late last year, there was no doubt it's a great device but the price was quite eye-watering. But Apple's uber-tablet is now facing a further problem.
A number of iPad Pro owners are complaining their tablets are bent. Apple has conducted an investigation and says the iPad Pro's aren't bent - we're just looking at them wrong.
In a newly released support note Apple explains how the iPad Pro is made, using a process called "co-molding" where plastic is injected into gaps between the aluminium components. Once a device is made, there is an allowance "for no more than 400 microns of deviation across the length of any side — less than the thickness of four sheets of paper" from perfect flatness.
All that sounds great but what of those people who say the iPad Pro is arriving bent?
Apple's latest iPad Pro range has added something extra to every meaningful spec. They're faster, offer more storage, are slightly smaller and cost more. But are they a valuable replacement for a traditional computer and are they are worthwhile upgrade if you've already got an iPad Pro?
Apple says (emphasis ours):
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 right - it's not bent more than the spec allows. It's how you're looking at it.
Whether you get it as a gift or gifted it to yourself, there’s a little bit of extra prep work to do if you’ve just gotten your hands on a new 2018 iPad Pro. After a series of reports and rumours, Apple has acknowledged that a certain percentage of the new iPad Pros are shipping with a small structural bend in the chassis. Nobody wants to spend big bucks on a fancy new tablet and have it arrive bent, so make sure to check it right when you buy it and, if you see a curve, send it back within Apple’s 14-day return period.
Apple has faced problems before with the iPhone 6 and iPod nano bending, as well as "antennagate" with the iPhone 4. And it does seem some iPad Pro units are shipping with bends that exceed Apple's allowable tolerance.
Of course, it's possible some of the devices that are exhibiting bends in excess of Apple's tolerances are mistreating their devices. And, while Apple says there's a factory allowed variance of 400 microns, it's possible that some devices are slipping through the testing process.
Interestingly, when I sit the 11-inch iPad Pro I have here on my desk, it looks perfectly flat but there is a slight wobble when I exert light pressure on a corner. I tried that on a couple of different tables, moving the iPad around, suggesting that there is a very slight deviation from perfect straightness in the iPad I have. But it is imperceptible during normal use - and I use this iPad every day.
The support note from Apple reminds owners that there's a 14-day return policy if you buy directly from Apple and that you're protected by the usual warranties and local consumer protection laws if you have a problem.
Do you have a new iPad Pro? Is it noticeably bent?