Apple has temporarily closed down its online store, as part of the usual ritual ahead of a major event.

The Apple website is still up, but any attempt to follow a link to buy a product will be met with the message that "We'll be right back. Updates are coming to the Apple Store. Check back soon."

It might seem odd for Apple to be turning away business like this, but the store almost always goes offline a few hours before a significant batch of new products is announced.

Partly this will reflect the work required to make changes behind the scenes, as Apple updates the product listings with new images and descriptions, tweaks prices and removes the products that are discontinued. But we'd imagine that this could be set up in advance fairly easily, and that the move is more about good faith, and not selling soon-to-be-obsolete products to loyal customers.

The event in question is called Spring Loaded, and will begin tonight (20 April) at 6pm UK time. As soon as the event is over the store will reopen, replete with new products.

Given the lack of new products since December it seems likely that Apple will have a lot to talk about: it's almost certain that a new iPad Pro will be unveiled (potentially accompanied by a new Apple Pencil), but recent rumours suggest we could get new iMacs too, possibly in a range of 1990s-style colours.

On the undercard, expect the long-awaited first look at the AirTag object tracker - if it doesn't launch tonight, in fact, that's a decent clue that the project has been cancelled, AirPower-style - and we might get a new Apple TV.

Here's how to watch Apple's Spring Loaded event live. All the announcements will be dissected on Macworld as they happen; it's going to be a long night, and we hope you'll join us.