iPhone SE 3 and iPad Air 5 just tipped by carrier ahead of Apple event

A render of the iPhone SE 3, featuring the rumored Face ID notch
(Image credit: TenTechReview/xleaks7)

It's looking more and more likely that the iPhone SE 3 and iPad Air 5 will be part of the Apple event next week, thanks to a new leak.

Leaker Evan Blass, writing for 91Mobiles, claims that a big Asian mobile carrier has started preparing for the launch of Apple's new mid-range phone and tablet, providing the images below as proof. This comes just before Apple's Peek Performance event, confirmed for March 8.

Placeholder art for the iPad Air 5 store page on an unnamed mobile carrier's website. The image itself actually shows the iPad Air 4 in blue

(Image credit: Evan Blass/91Mobiles)

These images seem to show test or placeholder assets for this unnamed carrier's store pages. Blass explains that Apple doesn't send out assets before announcing products, which is why we see shots of the iPad Air 4 and unofficial renders of a flat-side iPhone SE.

Placeholder art for the iPhone SE 3 store page on an unnamed mobile carrier's website. The image itself actually shows unofficial renders of the iPhone SE with flat sides in pink, silver and gold

(Image credit: Evan Blass/91Mobiles)

Since rumors about this phone and tablet arriving in March have been well-circulated, we initially wondered if this was simply the carrier trying to cover its bases just in case next week's event does announce these products. But, as Blass points out in a Twitter reply, carriers have a more direct relationship with Apple than other companies like accessory makers (like Belkin, which has also been prepping for an iPhone SE 3 release), meaning this kind of preparation could be the result of a hint from Apple.

If you've not been following the leaks up to now, the iPhone SE 3 sounds like it will be a modest upgrade to the iPhone SE 2020, keeping the iPhone 8-style body (including a Touch ID home button) but adding the more powerful and 5G-ready A15 Bionic chipset from the iPhone 13 series.

The iPad Air 5 will also reportedly get small changes compared to the big update between the third and fourth-generation iPad Airs. Rumored upgrades this time are a camera upgrade that will enable Center Stage tracking for video, and an A15 chip.

That's not all we might see at the Peek Performance presentation though. Rumors claim we may also see a new iPad Pro 2022 to go alongside the iPad Air, and there could be one or more new Macs announced, too. This could include a new iMac Pro all-in-one desktop, a refreshed Mac mini 2022 or even a new entry-level MacBook Pro 2022, all sporting updated Apple M-series chips.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.