As many of you have probably heard, The Verge ran a story a couple of days ago with some comments from Apple about their new iPad Pros. It focused on issues with the thinner design being prone to bending and also touched on claims from some users that their Pros were bent right out of the box.
According to the article, Apple says that iPad Pros being slightly bent out of the box is “normal.” Ok…..Supposedly, this has to do with the manufacturing process of the device. Specifically, the bending described has to do with the iPads cooling off after production, quality testing and boxing. Honestly, this just seems crazy and unlike anything a major company’s PR department would say about their hardware on the record.
So far, this sounds a bit like Apple’s usual smug approach to PR, just on steroids. Today’s approach may be less abrasive than “you’re holding it wrong,” but the underlying sentiment is still the same. We are Apple. We know what we are doing. You should just accept what we make and how we make it and move on. To be honest, sometimes the claims made against them are flimsy enough to warrant some dismissiveness, but as we all know, on occasion they are not.
The article goes on to say that Apple will be happy to take bent iPads back within the normal 14 day return window. However, after that, if this supposed source within the company is to be believed, it looks like users are out of luck. Presumably you would have to pay some kind of repair fee or, if you have AppleCare+, pay the deductible and get a replacement.
Again, this statement just doesn’t seem like something Apple PR would release publicly. Typically, they will start off a situation like this by taking back some devices with such problems for analysis. Then they will eventually offer some kind of extended warranty or discounted repair program if the issue is widespread. Coming out with such a blanket statement just sets Apple up for an eventual forced backpedal, as happened with Battery Gate.
Today, there is a report that maybe Apple didn’t say all that. Or maybe they just didn’t say all that on the record and for public consumption. Either way, it is clear that the company doesn’t stand behind the statements in The Verge’s article. 9to5Mac published an email from Dan Riccio, Apple’s Senior VP of Hardware Engineering, that was passed to them by one of their readers.
As for The Verge, they didn’t name their source and it doesn’t have any official quotes. They may have been quoting someone who was speaking off the cuff, or who didn’t have complete knowledge of the situation. Or maybe they did. We may never know the answer to that.
According to this article in 9to5 Mac, Apple’s stance is that the iPad Pro’s quality standards insure that they don’t leave the factory unless they are within microns of being perfectly straight. Only bending within these very narrow parameters is defined as being normal. A claim was also made that return and warranty claim rates for the new Pros are not higher than normal.
Well, this is at least closer to what we are used to from Apple. It is still dismissive and smug, but at least it doesn’t close the door on returns or repairs for legitimate bending and how this will all be handled going forward. More importantly, it doesn’t set the kind of legitimate bending that some users are complaining about up as being “normal.” However, this email still isn’t a public statement, which the author makes clear is coming at a later time. We will have to wait until then for more details.
As for me, I haven’t had any bending issues with my iPad Pros. However, I have also been keeping mine in cases pretty much at all times. That may be enough to prevent issues going forward, but there is no way to know. I do know this- no one is more careful with their devices than I am. If I end up with a bent iPad Pro, it will be because the design is less than ideal. And if that happens, I will definitely left all of you know.