The curious case of the bent iPad Pro and Apple’s disappointing response

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A bent iPad Pro is a novelty. Or it should be. But buyers of Apple’s new tablet are reporting that their devices have a bend. What do you do? You rant. You should probably return it to Apple.

Actually, the tech giant isn’t getting angry with the whole world, but some of its most recently released iPad Pro tablets are certainly getting buyers justifiably worked up. So, you just coughed out over a thousand bucks for the new iPad Pro only to notice after excitedly unboxing, that it is slightly bent. Ouch! Worse still, Apple’s reaction to buyers’ complaints is not helping matters. The issue has raised quite a furore in Apple forums.

How Normal is a Bent iPad Pro?

Well, not normal but not defective either according to the company. Apple forums started buzzing with the news of bent iPad Pros a couple of weeks ago when a buyer posted a picture of his tablet, asking if anyone had a similar complaint. Responses poured in with picture proof.

If it was an acknowledged defect, newswires may not have reacted vigorously but Apple’s response raised quite an amount of dust. According to its VP of Hardware Engineering, Dan Riccio, this physical defect does not violate Apple’s quality or precision standards. Responding by email to a query by a user who ended up with a bent iPad Pro, Riccio explained thus:

Bent iPad Pro

Relative to the issue you referenced regarding the new iPad Pro, its unibody design meets or exceeds all of Apple’s high quality standards of design and precision manufacturing. We’ve carefully engineered it and every part of the manufacturing process is precisely measured and controlled.

Our current specification for iPad Pro flatness is up to 400 microns which is even tighter than previous generations. This 400 micron variance is less than half a millimeter (or the width of fewer than four sheets of paper at most) and this level of flatness won’t change during normal use over the lifetime of the product. Note, these slight variations do not affect the function of the device in any way.

Again, thanks for reaching out and I hope the above explanation addresses your concerns.

Executive Complaint

Apparently, brand loyalty did not restrain Michael Gartenberg from complaining publicly about his bent iPad Pro….and returning it. The former Apple Marketing Director criticized the company for mishandling the issue which has now resulted in negative press. In contrast to Riccio’s statement, Gartenberg posited that Apple tolerances should not allow for such a noticeable bend.

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The annoyance exhibited by customers is a combination of dissatisfaction with the product and peeve over Riccio’s seeming arrogance. Actually, he had further explained in his email that a cooling process involving the metal and plastic components of the tablet is responsible. According to Apple, since the issue is being experienced right out of the box as opposed to manifesting with usage, it is not a problem. Brand loyalists are obviously unhappy with the response.

The curious case of the bent iPad Pro and Apple's disappointing response 2

The Way Forward

Having taken a rigid stance not to provide replacements for the bent iPad Pro tablets, the only recourse left for buyers may be as follows:

  1. Take advantage of the company’s regular 14-Day post-purchase return window
  2. Deliberately ignore the obviously bent tablet
  3. Take advantage of either one of Apple Care+ accidental damage deductibles

If you ended up with one of the bent iPad Pro tablets, what is your response? What steps are you taking?

It remains to be seen how Tim Cook’s Apple will navigate its way out of this brewing crisis but the steps taken so far can only intensify it.

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