Apple has confirmed the new 2018 models of the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro are already bent when shipped to customers.
A few users claimed on the MacRumors forum that they discovered bends in their new tablets. In response to their complaints, Apple confirmed to The Verge that the issue exists, but also suggested the bend - which happens to tablets that come right out of the box - is normal. So, contrary to some user complaints and even videos that indicate otherwise, the bend doesn't happen with every day use.
Apple asserted some models have been shipping out with a "very slight bend in the aluminum chassis," which is a "side effect of the manufacturing process". More specifically, a "cooling process involving the iPad Pro’s metal and plastic components during manufacturing". As a result, Apple does not consider the bend a defect. The issue also shouldn't worsen or affect the iPad Pro's performance "in any practical way".
Now, early on, after the iPad Pro released, videos of the new models popped up online, showing the chassis bending more easily than other models. Apple told The Verge that any claims against the iPad Pro's "structural rigidity" are "unfounded" and that it "stands by the product". Nevertheless, The Verge said users who have a bent device that's still under the return policy should have no problem returning it to the Apple Store.
This debacle reminds us of the "Bendgate" controversy with iPhone 6 Plus, another Apple device that easily bent, though Apple fixed the problem with later iPhone models. It also reminds us of the iPhone 4 "Antennagate" controversy, when Apple essentially told users experiencing reception issues they should avoid holding their phone in a way that impedes the device's antenna performance.
Apple usually won't replace devices experiencing issues that are not considered manufacturing defects, so it'll be interesting to see what happens with the 2018 iPad Pro going forward and whether this becomes a more prevalent issue.