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Apple Responds to the iPad Pro Bendgate with a New Support Document

Are you concerned about a visible bend in your new iPad Pro? You shouldn’t be, according to Apple, because it’s just a byproduct of the manufacturing process used for the 11- and 12.9-inch tablets.

The new support document (opens in new tab), published late yesterday (Jan. 4), contains Apple’s most extensive comments to date on new iPad Pros that arrived with a noticeable bend. Some iPad Pro owners reported last month that their new tablets had a slightly curved but visibly curved chassis, which Apple later confirmed in a few brief public statements on the subject.

Apple stated at the time that the bend was caused by a cooling process involving the iPad’s metal and plastic parts and that the tablet met Apple’s design and manufacturing standards. It reiterates those points in greater detail in the new support document.

According to Apple, cellular models of the iPad Pro, which appear to be the most prone to this issue, have small vertical bands that allow parts of the tablet’s enclosure to act as cellular antennas.

“During 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,” according to the support document. “The entire enclosure is finished with a precision CNC machining operation after the plastic cools, yielding a seamless integration of plastic and aluminum into a single, strong enclosure.”

Apple’s flatness specification “allows for no more than 400 microns of deviation across the length of any side,” which is less than the thickness of four sheets of paper, according to the company. That appears to be a more stringent specification than previous iPad generations.

So, what’s the deal with the kink? “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,” according to Apple’s support document. These minor variations have no bearing on the enclosure’s strength or the product’s functionality, and they will not change with normal use.”

That’s unlikely to be of much comfort to new iPad Pro owners who value aesthetics as much as performance. The support document reiterates Apple’s 14-day return policy on products purchased directly from the company and directs iPad Pro owners who believe their tablet’s bend exceeds the 400-micron standard to contact Apple Support (opens in new tab).

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