Today's Apple iPad launch event: new, cheaper iPad, MacBook Air and iPhone SE incoming?

Chicago event could mean new Apple hardware and software with an education bias

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Apple has sent out invites to an event taking place in Chicago at 4pm BST today, 27 March, and speculation is building that a new iPad, a cheaper MacBook Air, and an upgraded iPhone SE – the iPhone SE 2 – are going to be unveiled.

Nothing has been officially confirmed by Apple, but the launch of one or more of these three new products would make sense. That's in part due to some recent Apple news leaks, but also because the event, which is taking place at a high school, is billed as focusing on "creative new ideas for teachers and students", which suggests products at the affordable end of the company's line-up.

Considering that an updated new iPad range, including a bezel-free iPad Pro 2018, has reportedly been in development, we feel that Apple could easily relaunch its current iPad as a new, more affordable model with Apple Pencil support, aimed at teachers and students. Our colleagues at TechRadar also reckon that the Apple Pencil itself might get a refresh.

Further, two weeks ago we reported that a more affordable MacBook Air was on its way, with a respected smartphone analyst indicating Apple was looking to enter the lower price band for laptops this year. 

In addition, two days ago we also reported on a leaked video that apparently shows off the iPhone SE 2, an upgraded version of Apple's budget iPhone SE mobile phone with a new iPhone X-inspired design, so again we feel it's perfectly plausible that a new affordable handset could launch next week.

While Apple may still save some of its new hardware reveals for WWDC 2018, which kicks off on 4 June, this dedicated, invite-only Apple event in Chicago seems to indicate something major is about to land.

Be sure to check back in to T3 later today for the full story.