Apple elaborates on iPad Pro precision manufacturing process, reiterates 400 micron tolera...

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in iPad
Apple has published a support document detailing the new iPad Pro's enclosure manufacturing process, in an attempt to assure customers that the new device is durable and strong.

iPad Pro Bend
An 11-inch iPad Pro exhibits a bend out of the box. | Source: The Verge


In the support document published late on Friday, Apple talks about the new manufacturing process being used to fabricate the iPad Pro casing. Additionally, the company is doubling-down on its stated tolerance for the case, and what users should do if they think that any iPad Pro is bent beyond what Apple considers allowable.
To provide optimal cellular performance, small vertical bands or "splits" in the sides of the iPad allow parts of the enclosure to function as cellular antennas. For the first time ever on an iPad, these bands are manufactured using a process called co-molding. In this high-temperature process, plastic is injected into precisely milled channels in the aluminum enclosure where it bonds to micro-pores in the aluminum surface. After the plastic cools, the entire enclosure is finished with a precision CNC machining operation, yielding a seamless integration of plastic and aluminum into a single, strong enclosure.
In the note, Apple also points out that the "flatness specification" allows for nomore than 400 microns across the entire length of any given side. It also says that "the new straight edges and the presence of the antenna splits may make subtle deviations in flatness more visible only from certain viewing angles that are imperceptible during normal use."

Reports of curved or bent iPad Pro models began circulating online shortly after the device debuted in November. Some impacted users have to AppleInsider that the bend slowly emerges after weeks of use, while others noticed an abnormal curvature out of the box. AppleInsider has continued to receive these reports, with users demonstrating bends greater than the thickness of a U.S. dime -- about 1300 microns -- from end-to-end. However, we cannot confirm the authenticity of the reports we have received, nor have we discovered one ourselves out-of-the-box with the problem.

On December 19, Apple confirmed that "some" 2018 iPad Pro models ship out to consumers with a slightly bent chassis. The company said then -- and repeated on Friday -- that the deformation does not degrade performance and is not considered a defect.

Apple noted in December that its latest iPad Pro is seeing a normal return rate, suggesting most users have not observed or are not bothered by the manufacturing side effect. Collated service data collected by AppleInsider has seen a very slight uptick of just under half of one percent of all service calls for any Apple product since the original report, which isn't statistically significant. So, it isn't clear how prevalent the issue is at this time.

Similar to what AppleInsider pointed out in December, Apple suggests that users who feel that the iPad Pro does not meet the 400 micron tolerance should contact Apple support, and take advantage of the company's 14-day return policy. The company notes that "Apple also provides up to a one-year warranty on our products and will cover damage if it has occurred due to a defect in materials or workmanship."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 64
    You can accept marketing words for $1000, or you can not be stupid and return it until you can get one that isn’t bent and doesn’t pop out of the extra $50 to $200 case you want to put it in. Would you accept a bent car they are supposedly developing? That’s not trustworthy to me. 
    edited January 5 stanhope
  • Reply 2 of 64
    larryalarrya Posts: 548member
    Not buying what they’re selling. Saw this play too recently with iPhone 6, only to hear several years later from court filings that they knew it was 70% flimsier. 
    stanhope
  • Reply 3 of 64
    F_Kent_DF_Kent_D Posts: 3unconfirmed, member
    I'll wait until the "S" model comes out that fixes the weak chassis like they did with the iPhone 6
    wandersostanhopeargonaut
  • Reply 4 of 64
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,055moderator
    You can accept marketing words for $1000, or you can not be stupid and return it until you can get one that isn’t bent and doesn’t pop out of the extra $50 to $200 case you want to put it in. Would you accept a bent car they are supposedly developing? That’s not trustworthy to me. 
    The tolerance is less than previous models.

    The flat edges show the curve better than could be discerned on previous models.

    There is no actual issue.  Unless you just want to pretend there is.  Free country, spend your time as you wish, I supppse.  
    mwhiteracerhomie3macplusplustmaychiaStrangeDaysDeelrondsdjuanguapomacxpress
  • Reply 5 of 64
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,740member
    You can accept marketing words for $1000, or you can not be stupid and return it until you can get one that isn’t bent and doesn’t pop out of the extra $50 to $200 case you want to put it in. Would you accept a bent car they are supposedly developing? That’s not trustworthy to me. 
    Better to either wait till the next model or buy the 2017 iPP.    Plastic = cheap POS.   If this is bad now what sort of screen problems could these bends cause in two years.  Is Apple smart enough to drop everything to re-engineer it now, probably not.    Cook probably sees this as a way to sell more AppleCare.
    stanhope
  • Reply 6 of 64
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,055moderator
    k2kw said:
    You can accept marketing words for $1000, or you can not be stupid and return it until you can get one that isn’t bent and doesn’t pop out of the extra $50 to $200 case you want to put it in. Would you accept a bent car they are supposedly developing? That’s not trustworthy to me. 
    Better to either wait till the next model or buy the 2017 iPP.    Plastic = cheap POS.   If this is bad now what sort of screen problems could these bends cause in two years.  Is Apple smart enough to drop everything to re-engineer it now, probably not.    Cook probably sees this as a way to sell more AppleCare.
    Trolling is against the commenting rules.  Just so you know this is something that’s noticed.  
    tmaychiaracoleman29StrangeDaysgilly33DeelronfastasleepdsdGeorgeBMacrandominternetperson
  • Reply 7 of 64

    The flat edges show the curve better than could be discerned on previous models.

    There is no actual issue. 
    If you can see it, you can. Period. How can anyone possibly suggest that such aesthetics do not matter, especially in a high-priced product!?

    Perhaps the tolerances needed to be even lower, for that price. 
    stanhopemuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 64
    ...Would you accept a bent car...?
    Well, I doubt that any car ever manufactured has a 400 micron straightness tolerance, or even 4000 microns (4 mm).
    macplusplusradarthekattmaychiagilly33fastasleepmacxpressrandominternetpersonargonautbb-15
  • Reply 9 of 64
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,509member
    k2kw said:
    You can accept marketing words for $1000, or you can not be stupid and return it until you can get one that isn’t bent and doesn’t pop out of the extra $50 to $200 case you want to put it in. Would you accept a bent car they are supposedly developing? That’s not trustworthy to me. 
    Better to either wait till the next model or buy the 2017 iPP.    Plastic = cheap POS.   If this is bad now what sort of screen problems could these bends cause in two years.  Is Apple smart enough to drop everything to re-engineer it now, probably not.    Cook probably sees this as a way to sell more AppleCare.
    You really belong with the slimers at MacRumors, not here.
    radarthekattmayNotsofastStrangeDaysgilly33Deelronfastasleepbb-15Metriacanthosaurusjony0
  • Reply 10 of 64
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,994member
    If you believe your new iPad Pro does not meet the specifications described in this article, please contact Apple Support. Apple offers a 14-day return policy for products purchased directly from Apple. Apple also provides up to a one-year warranty on our products and will cover damage if it has occurred due to a defect in materials or workmanship. “

    I’m sorry but this is ridiculous. How about don’t let products ship that don’t meet specifications? It shouldn’t be up to the customer to determine if something is more or less than 400 microns (assuming they even know what that means). If my 12.9” iPad looked bent it would be taken back to the store, period. No measuring for 400 microns or whatever. Thankfully it’s not. Apple’s response should be simply if you think you have a bent iPad bring it to the store for a replacement.  Those who have imperceptible bending won’t notice and everyone else obviously has an iPad that should be replaced.
    anantksundaramredgeminipamuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 11 of 64
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,994member

    You can accept marketing words for $1000, or you can not be stupid and return it until you can get one that isn’t bent and doesn’t pop out of the extra $50 to $200 case you want to put it in. Would you accept a bent car they are supposedly developing? That’s not trustworthy to me. 
    The tolerance is less than previous models.

    The flat edges show the curve better than could be discerned on previous models.

    There is no actual issue.  Unless you just want to pretend there is.  Free country, spend your time as you wish, I supppse.  
    There obviously is an issue or Apple wouldn’t be spending any time on support documents like this. The question is how widespread. Probably not very widespread but only Apple knows for sure.
    redgeminipa
  • Reply 12 of 64
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,994member

    ...Would you accept a bent car...?
    Well, I doubt that any car ever manufactured has a 400 micron straightness tolerance, or even 4000 microns (4 mm).
    He asked if you would accept a bent car. The iPad Pros that are bent do not have a tolerance of 400 microns and shouldn’t be leaving the factory.
    anantksundaramredgeminipa
  • Reply 13 of 64
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 626member
    Perhaps this is an issue that takes time to become obvious. Yes they meet specifications for on the day they are checked and shipped, but plastic and aluminum are ductile. Internal stresses could cause them to deform slowly. Perhaps there is an issue with some unexpected stress that gets moulded in but takes a week or two to warp the frame. I work in manufacturing and we have seen this kind of thing on occasion. The part or the assembly is fine on initial QC, but a few months later when the full system is assembled it is out of spec from a warp that developed over time.
    fastasleepredgeminipablurpbleepbloop
  • Reply 14 of 64
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,125member
    400 microns is pretty darn small. Not sure if this response does the job though. I believe their manufacturing tolerances beat the competition, but this response gives the impression they are making excuses instead of explaining a rational process.
    tmaymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 64

    ...Would you accept a bent car...?
    Well, I doubt that any car ever manufactured has a 400 micron straightness tolerance, or even 4000 microns (4 mm).
    He asked if you would accept a bent car. The iPad Pros that are bent do not have a tolerance of 400 microns and shouldn’t be leaving the factory.
    Btw, the explanation of “400 microns” is the most dumbass engineer-speak I’ve heard from a consumer products company. I would not have expected such public stupidity  from Apple. (Yes, I know they said “three sheets of paper” or some such thing, but per my visualization, that actually seems like a lot). 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 64
    This is a non issue. I would love an iPad Pro with a 400 micron bend, anyone know where I can pick one up for a hefty discount?
  • Reply 17 of 64
    rogifan_new said:I’m sorry but this is ridiculous. How about don’t let products ship that don’t meet specifications?
    That's the point: Apple is telling everyone that they DON'T ship iPad Pros that fail to meet the 400 micron standard. Just because someone posts a photo of a bent frame to the internet doesn't automatically mean that the bending happened during manufacturing. 
    StrangeDaysradarthekatDeelronfastasleeprandominternetperson
  • Reply 18 of 64

    400 microns is pretty darn small. Not sure if this response does the job though.
    C'mon...mass manufacture isn't something new. There are always tolerances. How many times do sites like this talk about "yield" for screens? That's a form of tolerance.
    StrangeDaysradarthekatDeelronargonaut
  • Reply 19 of 64
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,370member
    First a word about engineering and tolerances. Nothing is perfectly flat (or perfect, for that matter.) There will always be some variance from unit to unit. Part of engineering and design is determining how much variance is allowable and part of manufacturing is determine how to achieve these tolerances. (Yes, cars have allowable tolerances as well and they are surprisingly small.) The smaller your tolerances, the more difficult and expensive the manufacturing process is. Every manufacturer makes this decision. 

    Just for reference, the average credit card is about 800 microns, so the bend is half the thickness of a credit card over 11"/280mm. Put another way, 0.4mm/280mm = 0.14%. That is not much of a 'bend.'

    There are 3 potential issues here:

    1. Function - does the bend affect the operation of the iPad? Apple says they it does not and I would have a hard time believing that that degree of bend would cause any issues with function. I have not seen any reports of it affecting function, either, so I think it's safe to say that function is not an issue.
    2. Usability - even if it works fine, does a 400 micron (or less) bend affect your ability to use the device? one poster commented on the device popping out of a case. I find this hard to believe, too. If your case is that sensitive, then it probably has other issues as well. The one issue I could see being a problem is if the bend caused it to rock or swivel when placed on a hard surface. That's hard to say. I haven't seen any reports as such and half the time, the surfaces you put things on are not totally true or have crumbs, etc. Edit: Just realized that the new iPad Pro has a camera bump so it will never lay flat. As such, I can't come up with a scenario where 400 microns would cause any issues with usability, either. 
    3. Perception - this is the real issue, IMO. Others have posted that the shape of the new iPad makes it easier to see a defect, which is true. A bend is easier to detect on a long, sharp edge that on a curved edge. People are upset that their device is not 'perfect' and are focusing on this. Unfortunately things like perception are far more difficult to deal with. After 2 ½ years of use with my 1st gen iPad Pro, I can safely say that 400 microns of bend would never cause any issues in usage. For the people who can't get over their device not being perfectly flat, the best option would be to return it or exchange it. Regardless, assuming the iPads are within spec, I have a hard time criticizing Apple over this.

    edited January 5 foregoneconclusionanantksundaramtmaygilly33radarthekatDeelronfastasleephammeroftruthrandominternetpersonbb-15
  • Reply 20 of 64
    k2kw said:
    You can accept marketing words for $1000, or you can not be stupid and return it until you can get one that isn’t bent and doesn’t pop out of the extra $50 to $200 case you want to put it in. Would you accept a bent car they are supposedly developing? That’s not trustworthy to me. 
    Better to either wait till the next model or buy the 2017 iPP.    Plastic = cheap POS.   If this is bad now what sort of screen problems could these bends cause in two years.  Is Apple smart enough to drop everything to re-engineer it now, probably not.    Cook probably sees this as a way to sell more AppleCare.
    Trolling is against the commenting rules.  Just so you know this is something that’s noticed.  
    I'm trying to understand so as to govern my own comments appropriately. Are you saying that advising others to avoid a specific model or buy something else is "trolling?" Is it speculating about how Apple Engineering will respond that crosses the line? The sarcastic quip about Cook?

    I'm not being contrary here, I'm honestly trying to get my head around what is and isn't allowed here.
    MplsPgatorguyhammeroftruthargonautmuthuk_vanalingamMetriacanthosaurusmaltz
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