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Last month when Apple unveiled its spring 2021 lineup, the most exciting new products were given somewhat nebulous arrival dates of “the second half of May,” leading to much speculation as to exactly when they’d be coming. Even when pre-orders opened on April 30, customers were given a window of May 21-27. The good news, however, is that Apple has made it official: The new iMac, iPad Pro, and Apple TV 4K will indeed be landing in stores this Friday.
To be fair, the rumour mill has been predicting this date since late last month, and many customers found their pre-orders shifting into “Preparing to Ship” status as early as last week. Even so, however, it didn’t become official until this morning, with Apple revealing that Friday, May 21 is indeed the date.
According to Apple’s announcement, Apple Store locations and authorized resellers around the world will have the new M1-powered iPad Pro, the all-new M1 iMac, and the next-generation Apple TV 4K available on Friday morning.
Further, if you pre-ordered one of these new products early enough to still get a May 21-27 delivery window, you should see it arrive on your doorstep this Friday.
Just remember, however, that this only applies if you were at the front of the line when pre-orders opened on April 30. While Apple has managed to weather the global chip shortage so far in avoiding delaying the initial release of its new products, it was also quite candid that shortages are on the horizon. Many customers experienced this with the M1 iPad Pro, missing the early stock window and seeing ship dates quickly sliding into July.
That said, even if you weren’t first in line for pre-orders, there’s still a good chance you can simply get your hands on the new iMac, iPad Pro, or Apple TV 4K just by visiting your local Apple Store, since the company has naturally reserved at least some stock for its retail locations. In fact, Apple notes in its announcement that “more than 99 percent of worldwide Apple Store locations” will be open on Friday, so customers can also get some hands-on time with the lineup of new products.
As gorgeous as Apple’s new colourful iMacs are, there is one important thing that you should keep in mind if you plan on visiting a retail store to pick one up: Not all colours are going to be available in-store.
Firstly, as we noted last month, the $1,299 entry-level iMac is only available in blue, green, pink, and silver, and the good news is that if you’re going for that one, all those colour options should be available at your local Apple Store.
However, the higher-end $1,499 configuration adds three more fun colours: yellow, orange, and purple, and these colours will not be available at retail locations.
In other words, if you were hoping to get the new iMac in yellow, orange, or purple, your only option will be to order it directly from Apple online — and you’re going to have to wait a while as ship dates are 5–6 weeks out, basically into early July.
To be clear, it doesn’t seem that online availability differs by colour — you’ll have to wait 5–6 weeks for the higher-end iMac to arrive regardless of what colour you want it in, although if you’re content with green, pink, blue, or silver, you’ll likely be able to pick it up at an Apple Store or other reseller as soon as this Friday.
Adding insult to injury, Apple plans to have the other three colours on display at most Apple Stores, so you’ll be able to drool over the much more interesting colours, and then left placing an online order and waiting until July if you decide you actually want one.
M1 iPad Pro
The situation with the new iPad Pro is a bit more straightforward, as all models are expected to be in stores on Friday. In fact, even the white Magic Keyboard is expected to be in stores alongside the new iPads.
In its announcement, Apple is also reminding customers that they can get $200 back from AT&T, T-Mobile/Sprint, or Verizon when they buy a Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Pro directly from Apple and activate it with one of those carriers.
Apple TV 4K
Arguably the least exciting product in Apple’s new lineup is the 2021 Apple TV 4K. The set-top box itself offers only modest and largely expected enhancements over its 2017 predecessor, packing in a faster A12 Bionic chip and support for higher 60fps frame rates when viewing Dolby Vision and other HDR videos.
On the other hand, it also includes a significantly redesigned Siri Remote, which could be the most interesting thing about the new Apple TV 4K. A five-way clickpad replaces the controversial touchpad of the original Siri Remote, while new mute and power buttons offer more control over your home entertainment system, and the sleek aluminum design hearkens back to the more classic Apple TV Remote of the second- and third-generation models.
However, Apple is also selling the new second-generation Siri Remote by itself for $59, and it’s fully compatible with all tvOS-based Apple TV models, going right back to the 2015 Apple TV HD. So, if you’re simply looking for the better remote for your older Apple TV — especially if you already have a 2017 Apple TV 4K — you can simply pick it up directly rather than splurging on a whole new Apple TV. Apple hasn’t said whether the new Siri Remote will be in stores on Friday, but it’s still available online with ship dates as early as May 26.