A NYPD officer carries a barrier outside the Apple Store in New York February 23, 2016 / REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Tradition dictates that Apple makes the store unavailable for a few hours before a big launch so that it can be spruced up, even though the site has been redesigned and presumably doesn’t actually have to be taken offline

The Apple Store has been taken offline ahead of the launch of the iPhone SE and a range of other products.

In a long-established tradition, the company takes down the shopping parts of its website and replaces them with an message telling users that “We’ll be back”. It’s expected to come back online as soon as the new products are announced, and orders are rumoured to be opening soon after that.

The company was initially thought to take down the page so that it could change the product details within its website. The site underwent a major redesign last year that many presumed had meant those strange outages were no longer needed — but because of either necessity or tradition, the company still makes its pages unavailable for a few hours before the events.

When the site goes back online it will presumably have space for the range of new products that are expected to launch. That will include the new, smaller iPhone; an updated iPad; new Apple Watch accessories; plus potentially new laptops or any other surprises.

The Independent will be live-blogging the launch of all of those products — and releasing details as soon as we know exactly how much you'll have to pay to buy them, when the store comes back online.