Apple's new M4 iPad Pro will bend if you try hard enough so maybe try not to do that and you'll probably be fine

iPad Pro with M4 chipset
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

After months upon months of rumors and guesses, Apple finally released the M4 iPad Pro and M2 iPad Air to the public this week after it unveiled them for the first time at the Let Loose event a week prior. There's a lot to like about both lineups, not least the addition of a huge new 13-inch iPad Air for those of us who like big screens and cannot lie, but also don't want to spend iPad Pro money to get them. The OLED display and speedy M4 chip on the iPad Pro garnered lots of attention, too.

But Apple made an interesting claim when showing off the 13-inch M4 iPad Pro specifically, and it's one that spawned a ton of headlines. That particular tablet, the most expensive that Apple has sold and one that starts at an eye-watering $1,299, also happens to be the thinnest device that it's ever made as well. It's just 5.3mm thick if you ignore that camera bump, and that makes it thinner than the iconic iPod nano. That's thin. Very thin indeed.

But as anyone with even the most rudimentary understanding of The Science of Thin Things (a little-known science, admittedly, and most definitely a real one) will tell you, making things impossibly thin also tends to make them worryingly easy to snap. Or, in the case of an iPad, bend. We've been here before, and we've seen Apple's iPad Pro specifically fall foul of a YouTuber or two. But this time Apple saw it coming and added a special design change to fend off those who just can't stop bending things. And early reports are that the change helped. But, it turns out, that if you really want to bend an iPad Pro in half you probably will.

Will it bend?

Apple said that it had put special bendgate protections in place by adding a new cowling that effectively covered the entire logic board and added much-needed rigidity to a chassis that was incredibly thin. However, YouTubers JerryRigEverything and AppleTrack really wanted to see what would happen if they tried to bend a new iPad Pro anyway.

Can anyone guess what happened?

Sure, the iPad Pro twisted and flexed when grown men tried to make it twist and flex. Who knew?

On a positive note, we were told that the new M4 iPad Pro sports "black magic levels" of integrity," so there's that.

Now, I'd like to think that this next part isn't required and we're all grown-ups here. But I'm going to say it anyway — don't bend your iPad. It might stand up to the test, but it probably won't, and you'll have an iPad with a bend in the middle.

All of that aside, it's clear that Apple's special cowling is indeed working as designed and the 13-inch iPad Pro is stronger than it has any right to be considering its proportions. That's a testament to Apple's design and engineering teams, but we can't help but wonder who really asked for their iPad Pro to be this thin. Maybe we could have had one a tad thicker but with a longer battery life instead? That extra space might well have helped with cooling that beast of an M4 chip, too.

All things considered, it seems the M4 iPad Pro lives up to its billing as the best tablet Apple has ever made. It'll get your work done, play your games, and withstand the rough and tumble of spending its life in a backpack or being thrown around airports in your luggage.

But should someone at that airport decide to take your iPad out and bend it to within an inch of its life, it might break. Chalk that one up to science.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

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    Jerry was clearly upset he couldn’t bend it in landscape