Apple looks set to launch a new smaller iPhone – dubbed the iPhone 5se – and the latest version of the iPad Air as early as this March.

The new iPhone will be based on the 4-inch screen and case of the iPhone 5 but feature improved processors and features, so it will be labelled the iPhone 5se (as in ‘special edition’), reports the Apple news website 9to5mac.com.

The new models – along with a raft of new bands for the Apple Watch – are set to be announce at an as-yet-unconfirmed Apple Event on March 13.

The iPhone 5se will look identical to the 2013 iPhone 5s but inside it will be souped up with the following:

  • the A9 processor and M9 motion processor
  • an NFC chip with ‘secure space’ for Apple Pay
  • improved TouchID sensor
  • always-on Siri
  • upgraded camera from the iPhone 6 with support for Live Photos

The revamped model is targeted at the significant minority of Apple customers who want to have the latest features and speed bumps, but don’t like the larger size of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cases.

Details are more sketchy about the latest iPad Air 3. Again it will have a processor upgrade to the latest A9 and M9s as well as the expected improvements to the camera and Touch ID systems.

It is still unclear whether the iPad Air 3 screen will get Apple Pencil and 3D Touch capabilities though.

If the reports are correct then the new iPhone 5se and iPad Air 3 will go on sale on March 18 – the Friday after the rumoured event.

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Mat Toor is the oldest man working in Old Street, the location of Phone Cruncher Towers. He remembers when it was all fields... Mat has worked in technology and mobile for over 20 years, including stints at the Financial Times, Dennis Publishing and Sony. While at Dennis Publishing he launched KnowYourMobile.com in 2007 - which has gone on to become the UK's leading mobile website. He reckons that he can get lightning to strike twice with Phone Cruncher - and he's got the team to prove it.