Apple designed super-slim M4 iPad Pro to not be super fragile

Apple brags that the 13-inch version of the M4 iPad Pro is “the thinnest Apple product ever,” but the company took steps to be sure the new tablet isn’t fragile and easily bendable.

In an interview, Apple’s head of hardware engineering describes a “central rib” that makes the computer more stiff.

M4 iPad Pro: Slim doesn’t have to mean fragile

Bendable devices is a sore point with Apple users — structural problems with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus made them not rigid enough. The result was “bendgate.” That was a decade ago, but some people remain cautious that Apple’s constant striving for slimness will compromise durability.

The 13-inch version of M4-powered iPad Pro measures just 0.2 inches thick (5.1mm). That’s down from 0.25 inches (6.4 mm) in its predecessor. A device that slender, which also measures 11.1 inches tall, might make some users concerned about how well it will stand up to real-life use.

Obviously, Apple realized long before the M4 iPad Pro’s launch that its svelte new computer needed to be relatively robust.

In an interview, John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, described the bend-busting design.

“One of the interesting things is the main logic board runs right down the center in-between the two batteries on the iPad Pro, and that’s really helpful from a thermal dissipation standpoint because we can spread heat evenly,” Ternus said. “But we also have a cowling over the main logic board — a metal cover that also helps on both thermal spreading but it also effectively creates a central rib that runs through the whole thing that tremendously improves the stiffness of the product.”

Time will tell

Apple unveiled the M4 iPad Pro on May 7 during its iPad-focused “Let Loose” event. However, the thin new high-end tablet won’t reach consumers until May 15. The first reviews have not yet been published. So there’s no definitive answer on how the svelte device will stand up to punishment.

That said, its predecessors, which were almost as thin, have survived years of ordinary use.

Of course, protective cases are recommended. An advantage of the slim and lightweight design of the M4 iPad Pro is that, even in a wraparound case, it doesn’t have to be overly bulky.

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