What we learned from today’s Apple preorders

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iMac preorders start: Early on, the purple iMac looks like the hardest to come by.
Early on, the purple iMac looks like the hardest to come by.
Photo: Apple

It’s preorder day for the new iMac, iPad Pro and Apple TV 4K — and we learned a few unexpected things.

For starters, the rumored May 21 shipping date for the devices looks confirmed.

Secondly, the Magic Keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is on sale again in both black and white color options, via the Apple Online Store.

And thirdly, for some reason, Apple isn’t offering in-store pickup for the new hardware. Two Cult of Mac writers in the United States noted that “pickup is currently unavailable” for their orders. This is similar to what happened with the iPhone 12 series last year, which also largely avoided in-store pickup as an option.

This almost certainly relates to COVID-19, and not wanting to encourage people to line up in close proximity at their nearest Apple Store to get their new device. While lining up has traditionally been a big part of Apple launches, it’s understandable that the company would want to avoid that in the current circumstances — even though the vaccination drive has made sizable progress in the past couple of months.

Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro is available

The black version of the refreshed 12.9-inch Magic Keyboard — which accommodates the upcoming tablet, which is slightly thicker due to its mini-LED screen — is actually available for pickup today in some Apple Store locations. The white one won’t ship until May 21.

Apple stopped selling the $349 iPad accessory briefly following the Spring Loaded event on April 20. There was some confusion over whether the previous model would fit the new iPad Pro. This new version will fit the refreshed iPad Pro better.

May 21 release date, orders slipping

Friday morning’s orders confirm reports that the new iPad Pro, and possibly other devices, will ship May 21. Rumors, and even metadata in Apple’s preorder press release, indicated that would be the case. But Apple still has not publicly announced a launch date more specific than the “second half of May.”

The unsurprising thing about today’s preorders? Some shipping dates are already slipping. Certain configurations of the iMac and iPad Pro already show up as arriving in early June.

While we don’t know the quantities Apple made each of its new iMacs in, this could give some early indication of popularity. So far, it appears that iMac delays come when ordering models with larger hard drives. Depending on which color and configuration you opt for, some shipping dates are being pushed back into June. Adding RAM is still not a problem, but adding 1TB or 2TB SSD adds anywhere between three days and two weeks.

Early on preorders day, the purple iMac looks particularly hard to come by on May 21. Certain configurations of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro slipped to late June/early July, too.

If you want a new Siri Remote — which works with the two previous generations of Apple TV as well as the upcoming one — you can still get one delivered in late May.

Have you ordered any Apple goodies today? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.