Apple iPhone 5se to go on sale as soon as March 18
The iPhone 5se will go on sale three days after its big reveal, hitting shelves on Friday March 18, according to new reports.
Apple is preparing to unveil the 4-inch smartphone on Tuesday March 15 alongside the iPad Air 3 and some new Apple Watch straps, and will be available as early as the Friday after, 9to5Mac has reported.
The Californian company typically leaves two weeks between the announcement of an iPhone and its retail date: for example, while the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were launched on September 9 last year, they did not go on sale until September 25.
The iPhone 5se is expected to sport new features including an upgraded camera, Apple Pay and Live Photos, catering to customers who may remain unconvinced by the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays introduced with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in September 2014. It will come in the same range of shades as the 6s range - rose gold, gold, silver and space grey.
While details remain a closely guarded secret at this stage, it's likely the 'se' or 'special edition' new iPhone will become the company's new entry-level model.
Apple has been under pressure to sell a more affordable smartphone in the past, and responded with the iPhone 5c, which had a brightly-coloured plastic case and did not feature fingerprint verification technology Touch ID. It was quietly discontinued last September.
The iPad Air 3 is likely to sport some of the same features as the most recent iPad Pro, including four corner-mounted speakers, smart connector strip for attaching magnetic keyboards and a higher resolution display.
The introduction of a new iPhone outside of the accepted September release cycle represents an interesting change for Apple. The company recently forecast for iPhone sales to fall for the first time, and confirmed sales of the smartphone had been the slowest in the three months to December since it went on sale in 2007.
The iPhone 7 is still expected to be revealed in mid September.