M4 iPad Pro is super thin but also super durable as proven by bend test

There is an almost irrational desire to have the lightest and the thinnest mobile devices. After all, we don’t want to carry the literal weight of just products if we can help it, and thin devices also look sleeker, take up less space in your bag, and, at least in theory, use less material during production. That thinness, however, doesn’t come without a price, at least in terms of durability. Thin sheets of wood break more easily (karate, anyone?) and it’s also easier to bend thin metal than thicker ones. That may be the concern some people will have about the new M4 iPad Pro, especially the larger 13-inch model, but a rather excruciating stress test fortunately proves that isn’t the case, with one important caveat.

Designer: Apple (via JerryRigEverything)

You might no longer hear about it, but there were times when Apple’s quest for thin designs backfired catastrophically. Its first large iPhones, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, were notoriously susceptible to bending when placed in back pockets that the term “bendgate” was coined in 2014. The first iPad Pro, though less dramatic, was also proven to be less than reliable if put under extreme pressure. Fortunately, those seem to be well in the past and Apple has figured out a new design to help prevent that sort of structural failure in its thinnest iPad yet.

JerryRigEverything, the YouTuber whose claim to fame has been the unrelenting bend, scratch, and burn tests on phones and tablets proved that new solution to some extent. Apple apparently added a “cowling” or a spine inside the thin tablet that runs across its height, covering the new M4 chip in the center and splitting the two large battery packs. Thanks to this new structural support, bending the tablet across its long edge no longer breaks it in half. It does deform in a way that won’t return to its flat state but it at least remains usable.

The catch, however, is that bending it in the opposite direction does actually destroy the iPad Pro. The flaw unsurprisingly lies in the thinnest part of the frame, the area around the USB-C port. With enough pressure, this bends sharply and pushes into the screen, cracking it and rendering it completely unusable. To be fair, the chances of that happening inside your backpack are extremely rare, but its existence should give owners caution. That said, most M4 iPad Pro owners will probably keep their ultra-thin tablets inside the new keyboard case when in transit anyway.

The stress test of the 2024 13-inch iPad Pro also shows some of the gems of this new design, like that aforementioned spine that was revealed after the shattered screen was peeled off. The YouTuber also provided a close-up of the Tandem OLED screen but, unfortunately, can’t show the second layer of OLED pixels underneath. All in all, the design of the M4 iPad Pro, both in terms of technology as well as product design, is quite impressive, but that isn’t an excuse not to take proper care of the device. Be sure to check out our hands-on of the new iPad Pro and keep a look out for our in-depth review coming soon!