No, Apple, bent iPad Pros are not acceptable

It turns out there may be a “bendgate” for the iPad Pro, after all. On Wednesday, Apple confirmed to The Verge that some iPad Pro models shipped with a slight bend, but the company claims this isn’t a defect. The problem seems to affect cellular models more than regular models, and that this is all simply part of the cooling process, Apple says it shouldn’t worsen over time. It’ll be fine! Everybody go home.

What a crock. What an embarrassment. I said last month that I personally had no problems with warped aluminum on Macworld’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and that continues to be the case. I’m still ready to believe the problems may spring from a bad batch of iPads. But that doesn’t justify Apple’s response. After Apple acknowledged that there is, in fact, a problem, it defies belief that Apple would essentially claim it’s no big deal. Considering what the iPad Pro is used for, a bent chassis potentially makes the tablet useless.

At this point, there’s little doubt that the problem is extensive enough to warrant serious attention. Right now Apple is reportedly letting buyers take home replacement models within the 14-day replacement window, but it’s not clear whether you can still get a replacement after that without paying something, even with AppleCare+.

We’ll soon find out. A Macworld reader named Zach bought his 2018 11-inch iPad Pro with Wi-Fi in November, and he discovered that it’s slowly been bending through everyday wear and tear. He sent us some photos, showing an iPad Pro bent in the middle with the crease extending downward from the camera. I personally would never like working on an iPad Pro in that condition.

“The only thing I have been doing is occasionally transporting it short distances in my backpack, and never with anything heavy against it,” Zach said in a message to me on Twitter.

Zach plans to take his iPad into the Apple Store for an exchange, and I’ve asked him to give me a report on how that goes.

A warped experience

As a reminder, Apple said some iPad Pros were shipping with bends straight out of the box. Zach’s case is a little more complex in that his iPad Pro started bending after he bought it, but I’m convinced these problems spring from the same faults in the manufacturing process.

In any case, a warped iPad will certainly negatively affect the user experience. After all, Apple designed the latest iPad Pro to work with its new Smart Folio Keyboard, which wraps the tablet so neatly that you may think the case is part of the construction. That wouldn’t be as evident with a warped tablet, as you’d see clear gaps between the tablet and the case.