Reports of something bent 2018 iPad Pros discovered shortly after its release, with some users claiming that they had received the product bent straight out of the box. In response to these reports, Apple claimed in December that the problem was due to the cooling process involved in some of the components, and suggested Verge that it was not a mistake.
On Saturday, Verge reported that Apple published a support site late Friday explaining the manufacturing process behind its newer iPad models and the small buoys the company claims are basically a non-issue that won't affect functionality. Apple said that this process combined with the antenna "splitter" for basement function may cause "subtle aberrations in the flatness to be made visible only from certain points of view that are imperceptible during normal use":
To provide optimum cellular performance, small vertical band or "splits" in the sides of the iPad allow parts of the cabinet to act as mobile antennas. For the first time on the iPad, these bands are produced using a process called co-molding. In this high temperature process, plastic is injected into accurately milled channels in the aluminum casing where it is associated with micropores in the aluminum surface. After the plastic has cooled, the entire cabinet is finished with a precise CNC machining, providing a seamless integration of plastic and aluminum into a single, strong enclosure.
Apple claims that the new production technique puts a new bar for flatness that "allows no more than 400 microns deviation over the length of some sides" or roughly the thickness of four stacked sheets of paper. Interestingly, as Verge notes, Apple does not contain any images in the advice on what "400 microm of nonconformity" looks like.
Previously, there was no clear action plan for what Apple customers should do if they were sent a bent iPad Pro or if they were entitled to return; it still remains mostly. But in the note on Friday, the company points to customers who believe their products do not meet the specification, ie the 400-micron deviation – to contact Apple support.
As Gizmodo previously reported, this problem was particularly annoying in the context of the iPad Pro's new cabinet being touted as revolutionary for its thinness. And if an iPad Pro bends to the extent that Zack Nelson shows in his viral JerryRigEverything review, one would hope that a product that potentially drives customers over $ 1000 will not come straight out of the packaging.