New Tests Show Apple’s New iPad Pro ‘Bends Like Butter’

2020 iPad Pro bend test Credit: EverythingApplePro
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One tradeoff that’s always been apparent as a result of Apple’s sleek hardware designs is that its devices tend to be somewhat fragile. You probably already know that modern iPhones shatter pretty easily thanks to their all-glass design, but another aspect of the delicacy of modern Apple devices that comes up every so often is their susceptibility to bending.

The issue was first raised when Apple debuted the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus back in 2014. These were the largest iPhones that Apple had produced at that point, with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus being a significant upgrade over the older 4-inch iPhone 5s that came before. Apple’s penchant for making devices as thin as possible meant that while these were the largest iPhones made, they were also the thinnest, so it shouldn’t have been all that surprising when users discovered that their iPhone 6 Plus devices were bending a bit too easily, especially when used without a case.

It’s also believed that this led to the infamous Touch Disease problem that later began plaguing Apple’s earlier larger-screen models, resulting in Apple’s admission that it knew the iPhone 6 Plus was more likely to bend than prior models.

Apple worked to strengthen subsequent iPhone models, and most users also moved on to using cases and being a bit more careful with their expensive iPhones, so we all pretty much forgot about “Bendgate” and moved on — until the problem returned with the new iPad Pro back in 2018.

‘Bendgate 2.0’

Some went so far as to call this “Bendgate 2.0,” and while Apple said it was no big deal, others disagreed and even went so far as to return their iPad Pros either simply out of principle or from fears that they might be too fragile.

Still, it was a tempest in a teapot, and didn’t gain nearly as much attention as the original controversy, likely because the iPad Pro was a more niche device that most users weren’t likely carrying around in their jeans pockets.

Hence, the consensus seemed to be that while the iPad Pro would bend, the opportunities for this to happen accidentally were much more rare, especially since users should be taking better care of such an expensive device anyway — notwithstanding a couple of passing scenes in recent Apple ads, neither Apple nor anybody else ever really said the iPad Pro was suitable for rugged field use, especially when used naked.

Still, some held out hope that Apple would do something to improve the situation. However, it really does seem that Apple continues to consider this a non-issue, since it’s just released its 2020 iPad Pro models that appear to have the exact same frailty.

In fact, a new 2020 iPad Pro bend test by EverythingApplePro reveals that nothing has really changed, demonstrating how the 11-inch iPad Pro bent “like butter.”

Their recommendation, of course, is that iPad Pro owners should simply get a case because the device is “so easy to bend” but that seems like fairly obvious advice for such an expensive device anyway, and it’s a recommendation that’s long held true for almost all of Apple’s mobile devices.

However, it’s also important to keep in mind that the folks at EverythingApplePro were actively trying to bend the iPad Pro. This wasn’t a real-world test where they simply threw it in a backpack or a suitcase with other heavy objects, but rather a case of applying force — albeit a relatively small amount of it — to the middle of the iPad for the express purpose of seeing if it would bend.

Our Take

While this certainly illustrates that the iPad Pro can bent under certain normal conditions, it’s a safe bet that if you treat your iPad with respect and don’t just carelessly toss it into a bag with a bunch of heavy books and no case on it, this isn’t really something you’ll need to worry about.

The real issue with the 2018 iPad Pro wasn’t simply its ability to bend — we’re not aware of a single reported case of anybody’s iPad Pro bending during normal use — but rather the fact that some brand new iPad Pros were bent right out of the box. Apple wrote this off as a simple case of “cooling metal and plastic components” during the manufacturing process, but Apple would replace anything that fell outside of its 400 micron tolerances, and if you bought your iPad Pro directly from Apple, you could take advantage of the standard 14-day return policy to bring your bendy iPad Pro back anyway.

While it’s still too early to tell, as the 2020 iPad Pro just started shipping, we don’t yet have any evidence as to whether that history is going to repeat itself, but while it’s obviously unsettling to open up a brand new $800+ device and find it visibly bent, we have no doubt that Apple will make it right if any new iPad Pro owners run into this problem again.

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