The iPad Air (2022) has landed with rave reviews, including a 4-star one from TechRadar, but now that it’s in users’ hands, some of them are reporting concerns about the build quality.
A number of users on Reddit and elsewhere have claimed that the aluminum back panel is so thin that you can almost feel the battery through it, and – presumably as a result of this – the tablet creaks when held.
The iPad Air (2022) is very thin at just 6.1mm thick, but it’s worth noting that the iPad Air 4 is every bit as slim and the iPad Pro 11 (2021) is even thinner at 5.9mm, so it’s seemingly not the overall thinness of the device that’s causing the issues, just the build of the backplate.
Or perhaps it’s not even to do with how thin it is, but rather how the slate has been put together. In any case, this issue doesn’t appear to affect every iPad Air (2022), as other users have chimed in to say theirs are fine.
But there are enough reports of creaks that Apple may have some sort of quality control issue – though with forum posts it’s always hard to know for sure how widespread an issue actually is.
This being a hardware issue there’s no real fix for it other than getting your tablet replaced, but there’s also no guarantee that the next one won’t have the same problem. Since this is unlikely to affect the performance of the tablet you might want to just live with it, but that will be a personal choice.
If reports of this issue keep emerging it’s likely Apple will address it eventually, but for now there’s no official comment from the company.
Analysis: not the first Apple hardware problem
As good as Apple’s devices are, they aren’t immune to hardware problems, and this isn’t the first instance of a potentially widespread issue.
Back in 2014, the company was criticized for what’s become known as ‘BendGate’. This name came from reports of iPhone 6 Plus units bending when placed in a pocket. Given the thin, creaky build quality of some iPad Air (2022) units, there could be concerns of bending or breaking here too, but so far that hasn’t been reported.
Before that, there was ‘Antennagate,’ where iPhone 4 units would lose signal if you didn’t hold them “properly” (as Steve Jobs infamously said).
Whether this creaking issue will become its own -gate (CreakGate perhaps?) remains to be seen, but there will probably be another gate sooner or later anyway.
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.