Apple is prepping for a major product unveiling this weekend, according to reports. If this proves accurate, the event would mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of the company's first retail store.
The first pair of Apple stores opened on a Saturday, May 19, 2001, in Glendale, Calif., and the Tysons Corner mall in McLean, Va. May 19 falls on a Thursday this year, but Apple's big event could hit on Saturday or Sunday, the anniversary weekend of the initial launch.
"There's an overnight shift planned for around 10-15 individuals at each Apple Store to work from late Saturday all the way through mid-Sunday," read a May 16 posting on the tech blog Boy Genius Report, which received its information from an unnamed source. "During the overnight shift, it's going to be required that employees lock cell phones in the main office. They will also have to sign an NDA with Apple."
Boy Genius Report also mentioned that Apple stores have already received "hardware" to install, and Apple corporate has sent password-protected folders marked "training." Those folders will apparently be accessible starting the afternoon of May 21. Apple stores will have their windows draped in black curtains, the better to hide whatever the company's brewing in there.
"Lastly, all Apple retail stores have mandatory meetings on Sunday, May 22," the posting added. "Most meeting[s] are scheduled for the morning, but there are evening meetings as well."
Apple fans, start your rampant speculation!
The blog Apple Insider suggests Apple could be prepping to roll out its "iCloud," an online locker for music and other multimedia, in the process citing an April Reuters report that Apple had finished a streaming music service.
While it's not outside the realm of possibility that Apple could introduce a new product, such an appearance would be wildly outside the company's usual timeframe for releasing its latest wares. The latest iteration of the iPhone generally appears later in the summer, although current rumors suggest that the launch of the next one-termed the "iPhone 5" by many in the press-could be pushed back into the fall. The new iPods make their appearance in the September timeframe, after which Apple generally quiets until the early-spring debut (at least, based on the past year-and-a-half) of the latest iPad.
Even as Apple gears its brick-and-mortar stores for this mysterious event, the company is locked in a series of lawsuits involving the trademark to "app store." Amazon.com, Microsoft, Nokia and other companies are pressing to deny Apple the rights to the term in both the United States and Europe. Apple's app store, one part of the company's massive online storefront, is the largest app provider by volume.