Apple’s bent iPad response is stunning, and a serious problem

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If the new iPad Pro you got for Christmas is bent in the center, don’t bother booking an appointment at the Apple Store. Just return the tablet, because the genius at the bar isn’t going to care. Why? Because, apparently, Apple doesn’t want you to think the bend is a problem.

It started like this: A couple of weeks ago, people began complaining on forums that their new iPads Pros were bent. Then photos began making the rounds, showing iPads that were clearly bent at the center, with one side perceptively higher than the other when lying flat on a table. At first it seemed like a nothing story. My initial reaction was that it was the result of a production defect that presumably affected a small batch of devices. Affected devices would be replaced at Apple Stores, the bent units would make their way through the channel and then peter out entirely, and business would proceed as usual.

But as the story developed, it quickly became headline news. Why? Because Apple “announced” that isn’t going to repair or replace the affected models. After a few unofficial comments that were less than clear, Apple VP Dan Riccio responded to a user’s email with a surprising statement, saying that the new iPad Pro’s unibody design “meets or exceeds all of Apple’s high quality standards of design and precision manufacturing.” If that’s Apple’s latest standards of quality, things are far worse than the company’s falling stock price.

Zach

Apple wants you to believe that this iPad is normal.

There’s enough photographic proof that a number of warped iPad Pros are indeed arriving in customers hands. But in the face of this mounting evidence, Apple hasn’t indicated that it will replace any of them. In fact, Apple seems to be actively trying to convince users that there’s nothing wrong with their tablets at all. Basically, Apple is saying these iPads are either a) not bent, or b) supposed to be bent.

Forget the fact that Apple is excusing a clear defect in a premium device. The iPad Pro starts at $800 and only hit shelves two months ago, so anyone who already has one is pretty much guaranteed to be a die-hard Apple fan. They want the latest designs, and they want to show them off to anyone who walks by. And now Apple is telling them that a bent iPad is normal.

Bending reality

If this is the new Apple way, it’s more concerning than flat iPhone XR sales. It’s not the production issue that worries me, because when you’re making millions of products each quarter defects will surely arise. It’s the response that troubles me.

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