Apple has released a new support article that provides some insight into how the 2018 iPad Pro is manufactured, clearly as a result of reports from customers who receive bent iPad devices in the runup at Christmas.
It says small turns can be more visible to the eye due to the new straight edge design, and points out that Apple sets 400 micron flatness tolerances – and everything outside that range should qualify for warranty repair / replacement.
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The document states that Apple is using a new production method called "co-molding" for the first time.
Especially on mobile iPad projects, the plastic antenna bands on the side of the iPad are bonded with the metal by injecting the plastic into milled channels in the cabinet.
For the first time on an iPad, these tapes are produced with a process called casting. 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 says the new squared design and antenna splitter on the mobile version can make it easier to see a slight bend with the naked eye, from certain angles. In normal use, a 400 micron variation in flatness should be imperceptible.
However, it repeats that its tolerances are even closer to the 2018 models compared to previous iPads.
Apple invites anyone who believes that their iPad Pro bends past the 400 micron tolerance level to contact Apple Support. It confirms that the warranty will cover damage "due to lack of materials or workmanship".