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Here’s why the M4 iPad Pro won’t bend even though it’s insanely thin

Published May 16th, 2024 10:19AM EDT
M4 iPad Pro tablets
Image: Apple Inc.

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After Apple unveiled the incredibly thin M4 iPad Pro, I realized how amazing this engineering feat is for the tablet’s battery life. The new iPad Pro models are significantly thinner than their predecessors while rocking a much better (and also thinner) display and the best SoC Apple has ever made. Yet they still offer the same great battery life. Not to mention that you get all those upgrades inside a tablet that’s lighter than before. That’s certainly something I want from an iPad.

But when Apple unveiled it, I wondered how the M4 iPad Pro would behave in the real world and whether it would survive an important type of stress test: bending. That’s because the previous models were prone to warping in some instances. They’d definitely bend if you tried hard enough.

Luckily, we learned directly from Apple that the M4 iPad Pro features a new internal design. Apple added a structure around the logic board in the middle of the iPad to improve its rigidity. Now that the 2024 iPad Pros are available to purchase, we have our first stress tests from real-world testing.

Apple told Arun Maini, who you might know as Mrwhosetheboss on YouTube, that it added a metal cowling to the logic board to help with heat dissipation and improve the tablet’s durability.

It turns out that yes, the M4 iPad Pros are a lot more durable than their predecessors. But they will bend if you apply enough pressure and focus on certain stress points. However, that sort of targeted pressure will not occur in real-life situations. You won’t have to worry about the tablet bending in your backpack or while you’re using it.

YouTubers JerryRigEverything and AppleTrack have both tested the durability of the M4 iPad Pros. In their tests, they found the new iPads to be extremely resistant to accidental bending.

JerryRigEverything put the 13-inch model through the same stress tests he gives all smartphones and tablets. It’s not just bending but also lots of scratching and heat resistance. The YouTuber eventually broke the display, removing it from the iPad and giving us a look at the metal structure covering the logic board to improve rigidity.

The YouTuber also pointed out that the iPad isn’t perfectly flat out of the box. There might be an imperceptible bend from manufacturing, but not something that will affect the iPad’s health. Or something you can notice easily.

AppleTrack performed a different kind of stress test, focusing on the bending spect. The YouTuber tried to bend both M4 iPad Pro models and the two 2022 iPad Pros that preceded them. There’s no question that the older variants bend a lot easier than the new models. That is, the latest models will hardly bend in tests.

Also important is that the Tandem OLED panels continued to work even after the extreme bending that ultimately broke the iPads.

Yes, both YouTubers identified the weakness points for the M4 iPad Pro when it comes to bending. The tablets will survive bending when held in landscape mode just fine. But hold them in portrait mode, apply enough pressure, and the new iPad Pros will bend around the USB-C port. The aluminum isn’t thick enough to provide that extra strength.

That said, the M4 iPad Pro isn’t likely to experience such extreme bending in everyday use. You don’t have to worry about the thickness or the protective cases. If you want to break the iPad intentionally, well you will be able to do it.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.