According to a credible report from BuzzFeed, Apple is pushing back its spring event to 21 March, the day before its federal court hearing against the FBI. Apple is expected to announce a 4in iPhone, a 9.7in iPad Pro, and new Apple Watch bands.
The BuzzFeed confirmation came on the heels of an Apple Insider report, which said that, “Apple employees have been asked to keep the days around 22 March free, presumably for an upcoming event.”
Originally, this event was rumoured to happen a week earlier on 15 March with new products hitting store shelves that Friday 18 March. If Apple is delaying the announcement event, it’s likely that shipments will also be pushed back to sometime around Friday 25 March. It may be that the company has been so busy dealing with legal issues that it needed more time to prepare for its product launch.
March 21 is the day before Apple’s federal court hearing against the FBI, which issued a court order to unlock an iPhone belonging to the gunman of the San Bernardino shooting in December. Last week, Apple officially responded to the court order with a motion to vacate, claiming that compelling Apple to assist the FBI is a violation of the company’s constitutional rights. The hearing will take place in Riverside, California.
Why this matters: If the rumours are true and Apple’s media event is slated for 21 March and not 15 March, it will be a very busy week for Tim Cook and company. After the recent legal maelstrom, it’s not inconceivable to think that Apple’s executive team really needs that extra week to get these products in front of people.
If it’s been done intentionally, this could be an interesting strategy by Apple to try to divert attention away from the court hearing. But considering how much Apple’s battle with the FBI has dominated the news cycle in the last week, it’s more likely that the court hearing will divert attention from the new product announcements.