Bendgate 2.0: Apple confirms some iPad Pro 2018 models ship bent, says it is "normal"
It looks like we officially have Apple “bendgate” version 2.0 on our hands. The latest controversy surrounds the structural integrity of its all-new iPad Pro 2018 models some of which are apparently shipping to customers with a slight warp in its all-aluminum chassis. In a statement provided to The Verge in response to concerns customers have been raising on the MacRumors forums about the devices, Apple has said that this is allegedly normal and is a natural result of the manufacturing process and occurs when the aluminum cools.
The potential issue was alluded to in a viral video from JerryRigEverything (embedded below) showing a new iPad Pro folding in half all to easily when pressure was exerted on it. The current problem is similar to the original bendgate controversy surrounding the iPhone 6 Plus, which bent out of shape when users sat with the iPhones in their pants pockets (something many of us do without causing a device to warp). Apple even took the media on a grand tour of its testing facilities trying to pour cold water on the story only for it to be learnt later that the iPhone 6 Plus was considerably more prone to bending the iPhone 5s model it replaced.
The chassis weakness in the iPhone 6 Plus led to the emergence of the “touch disease” problem that plagued enough users for Apple to eventually launch a out of warranty repair program to fix affected devices. In this case, the weak chassis led to the failure of the touch controller component which would eventually break off its mount after being subject to repeated chassis twisting. The iPhone 6 was made from 6000-series aluminum, which Apple subsequently upgraded to the much stronger 7000-series aluminum for the iPhone 7 line.
Bendgate 2.0 seems to affect iPad Pro 2018 LTE models that have a plastic strip integrated into the sides of the aluminum chassis that appears to create a structural weakness leading to the warping. Customers have complained that just packing them into a backpack during as they normally would is resulting in the bending, while others, including the author of the linked The Verge article, have witnessed devices exhibiting a slightly warped chassis straight out of the box. For a device that starts at US$799 for a Wi-Fi only 11-inch model and stretches all the way to US$1899 for a 12.9-inch Wi-Fi + Cellular model, it hardly seems remotely acceptable. But that is currently Apple's position.
For a company that has built a reputation on exacting precision and industry-leading materials and manufacturing processes, bendgate 2.0 presents a damaging blow. The story is sure to develop, so stay tuned and grab yourself some popcorn.