Apple Store down
Apple has taken down its online store Apple

Apple's online store was taken down earlier today (24 March) in preparation for the launch of the new "affordable" iPad, the special edition (PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and a 128GB model of the pint-sized iPhone SE.

Apple's System Status page did not make any mention of the downtime, but the traditional "we've got something special in store for you" banner was put in place of all product listings in all regions. The message notes that the store will go back online at 8.01am PDT (3.01pm GMT).

While there is still a very slim chance that Apple is preparing to launch any other new devices, the maintenance is more than likely due to the imminent launch of the new products announced days earlier. Apple noted at the time that all of the Cupertino giant's newest devices would be available to order from today (24 April).

The first of Apple's expanded roster brings an update to the iPad range. Simply named "iPad", the 9.7in tablet is a budget replacement for the slimline iPad Air 2, retailing at £339 ($424) in the UK for the base 32GB Wi-Fi model – £40 less than the previous entry level iPad Air 2 – and powered by the faster A9 processor.

New colour option available for both iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Apple

Apple also revealed a new special edition model of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in collaboration with (PRODUCT)RED which officially brings a red and white finish to Apple's popular smartphone for the first time. Every red iPhone 7 and 7 Plus purchased will see a donation given to the Global Fund to support HIV/Aids programmes.

The two new devices will also be joined by new storage options for the iPad Mini 4 and iPhone SE. For the iPad Mini 4, Apple has removed all models and replaced it with a lone 128GB option (starting from £419), while the iPhone SE has had its entry-level storage doubled to 32GB (£379) alongside the addition of a 128GB option (£479).