Apple’s New Colourful iMacs, iPad Pro, and Apple TV 4K Expected to Land on May 21

New iMac Apple TV 4K and iPad Pro 2021 Credit: Apple
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With pre-orders for almost Apple’s entire new spring 2021 product lineup set to open tomorrow morning, it appears that Apple has inadvertently let the cat out of the bag on when they’ll actually be arriving in stores and on people’s doorsteps.

While Apple was fairly noncommittal about an actual ship date during its Spring Loaded event, saying only that the new colourful 24-inch iMacs, new iPads Pro, and A12-powered Apple TV 4K would be coming “in the second half of May,” it seems that Apple already has a more specific date in mind: May 21st.

It’s also not the first time this date has come up for at least one of Apple’s new products. Serial leaker Jon Prosser revealed earlier this week that sources had told him at least one of the new iPad Pro models would be arriving on that date, although the same sources suggested that was only the 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR model, with the 11-inch oddly arriving one day later, on May 22.

While May 21 made a lot of sense, since Apple typically releases its new products on Fridays, and of course, it’s in the second half of May, we didn’t put a lot of stock in the May 22 rumour, since a one-day delay for the smaller iPad Pro didn’t make a lot of sense.

Apple also hasn’t released a new product on a Saturday since the original iPad arrived on April 3, 2010 — and that was likely only done because the day before was a statutory holiday in many states, and after promising the new iPad would arrive in “late March,” Apple likely didn’t want to delay the release any further than strictly necessary.

So, it wasn’t a big surprise when Prosser partially walked back that statement earlier today, noting that the later release date was specific to the 5G model for a certain carrier, which makes a lot more sense.

In the process, he also added that the new Apple TV 4K would arrive the same day.

Then 9to5Mac spotted a leak on UK retailer John Lewis indicating to potential buyers that the new iMac models would be coming on May 21. Although it’s since removed that date, 9to5Mac managed to grab a screenshot before it was replaced simply with “Out of stock online.”

Not long after, 9to5Mac’s Benjamin Mayo discovered that the UK Press Release also had a reference to May 21 in the HTML meta tag in the page source, which read:

“The all-new iMac, iPad Pro, Apple TV 4K, purple iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini, and AirTag arrive in stores and on doorsteps around the world May 21.”

While this obviously wasn’t entirely accurate either — the purple iPhone 12 models and AirTags arrive tomorrow, not May 21 — it does suggest that Apple at least had the May 21 date in mind at some point.

However, much like the date on the John Lewis website, Apple has since fixed the meta description to simply say “the second half of May,” while also correcting the dates for the new purple iPhone 12 models and AirTags.

“The all-new iMac, iPad Pro, and Apple TV 4K arrive in stores and on doorsteps around the world in the second half of May. iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini in purple and AirTag are available tomorrow.”

What’s Going on Here?

Apple isn’t usually this cagey without a reason, so the most likely explanation is that it doesn’t want to promise an availability date until it’s certain it can fulfill it.

Most likely it had the May 21 date in mind from the very beginning — perhaps even for the purple iPhone and AirTags too — but when the time came for the Spring Loaded event, it wasn’t sure it could have everything actually ready by that date. Simply saying “the second half of May” gives it considerably more wiggle room if it can’t actually get everything out for May 21.

Our guess is that Apple is trying as hard as it possibly can to ship everything and have it in stores for May 21 — there’s just too much information out there for this not to be the case — but considering that we already know that a global component shortage is hampering its ability to crank out Macs and iPads, it’s probably not entirely certain that it can have enough stock available to pull it off.

In fact, there’s a good chance it’s waiting until pre-orders open tomorrow to see what demand is like before committing to a firm launch date. Apple has never shipped out products to customers before they’re available in its own retail stores, so it’s going to want to make sure it can realistically meet pre-order demand without selling out in the first 30 seconds while still being able to have enough stock to fill the 500+ Apple Stores around the world.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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