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Dear Apple, I don’t care how thin the iPad Pro is

Side profile of 2024 iPad Pro.

Apple revealed the next generations of the iPad Air and iPad Pro last week during its Let Loose event. This week, the first wave of new iPads will arrive in stores and reach consumers worldwide.

Though we got a new 13-inch iPad Air in addition to the regular 11-inch size, the real star of the show was the iPad Pro. Now both the 11-inch and 13-inch models are equipped with a new tandem OLED Ultra Retina XDR display and the blazing-fast M4 chip, and the 1TB and 2TB models have a new nano-texture option for a matte finish display to reduce glare.

But don’t forget that Apple made the new 13-inch iPad Pro its thinnest product yet — coming in at a mere 0.2 inches thick (5.1mm), down from 0.25 inches (6.4mm) for its predecessor. Apple even made a highly controversial iPad Pro ad that showed a hydraulic press crushing many creative tools — such as musical instruments, books, cans of paint, computers, and more — into a superthin tablet.

That’s great and all, but did anyone really ask for a thinner iPad in the first place?

Apple’s obsession with thinness

Official photo of the 2024 iPad Pro.

This isn’t the first time that Apple has shown its obsession with thin products. It’s been an ongoing thing for Apple, especially when Jony Ive was the chief design officer. Ive departed Apple in 2019 to form his own design firm, LoveFrom, but this apparently hasn’t stopped Apple from obsessing over creating the thinnest products possible.

One of Apple’s biggest controversies revolving around the thinness of its products related to the iPhone 6/6 Plus. At the time, this was Apple’s thinnest iPhone, but it had structural problems that resulted in it just not being rigid enough. The iPhone 6 eventually started bending from being in pockets, and we had the infamous “bendgate” debacle.

It became a bit of a joke at the time, but it’s also left many people wary of unbelievably thin devices. Though the iPad Pro won’t be available to the masses until later this week, I did see a humorous post floating around social networks that had an image of the side view of the new M4 iPad Pro modified with a slight curvature after one week of use. It’s obviously poking fun at the bendgate controversy from years ago, but it just proves that it’s still a sore spot for Apple users.

Official photo of the 2024 iPad Pro.

John Ternus, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, was interviewed recently about the new iPad Pro and was asked about its thinness and how it is more durable and essentially bend-proof.

“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.”

In short, it’s like an extra rod in there that makes it more rigid, so theoretically, it should not bend. There weren’t any bending problems with the previous iteration of iPad Pros, so this should hold true.

But again, I repeat my question from above: Has anyone actually asked for a thinner iPad?

Being the thinnest comes with consequences

Rear profile of 2024 iPad Pro.

One of the things that hasn’t really changed with iPads is the battery life. This can also be applied to the iPhone and even the Apple Watch as well.

Apple never states how large the batteries in its products are, but the previous iPad Pro would get up to 10 hours of web surfing or video on Wi-Fi or nine hours on a cellular network. The new iPad Pro battery life remains unchanged with the same 10 and nine-hour mark.

Personally, I would have rather Apple made the iPad a little thicker to store an even larger battery. While Android tablets are not as popular as the iPad, you can typically find some very large-capacity batteries in them, and they aren’t super-thick either.

Official photo of the 2024 iPad Pro.

For example, the Lenovo Tab Extreme has a 12,300mAh battery inside, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra has an 11,200mAh battery. The previous generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro battery was around 10,758mAh, so the new 13-inch iPad Pro is likely something similar, if not smaller. I’m not sure about other people, but I would have liked to see Apple increase that battery capacity to be more on par with its Android competitors. I really could not care less about how thin my tablet is.

Another issue with making the thinnest products possible is the camera bump. While this is more of an issue with an iPhone than the iPad, I still think it’s ugly how the camera module sticks out from the back. I miss the days of having camera modules that were flush with the back of the device. That almost certainly would have been possible for the new iPad Pro if thinness had been taken out of the equation.

Apple, I don’t care about how thin the iPad is

Final Cut Pro for iPad 2.

Apple continues to strive for the thinnest products ever, and that has been very apparent with the new iPad Pro. But I just don’t care how thin it is.

I would like to have an iPad that can last over a day of constant use. I’d like to be able to forget to charge it for a day and still be able to use it without having to worry about plugging it in.

At the end of the day, having a little bit of thickness on the iPad Pro isn’t going to be noticeable. After all, you’re most likely to put it in a keyboard or folio case anyway. I never really thought my old 11-inch iPad Pro in a Logitech combo keyboard case was too thick or bulky to carry around.

Apple needs to start thinking about function over form because if we keep ignoring battery improvements for the sake of aesthetics, we’re going to keep heading in the wrong direction.

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Christine Romero-Chan
Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade. She graduated from California…
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