Apple Officially Sets Sept. 9 Event Date for Product Unveilings

After weeks of rumors about when Apple's latest products would finally be unveiled, including an expected iPhone 6 and maybe even a new iWatch smartwatch, the company has pegged the date as Sept. 9.

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Apple has set Sept. 9 as the official date for its upcoming product launch, which now starts the clock ticking for what products the Cupertino, Calif.-based company will actually reveal to the world.

Apple sent out emails to media invitees, featuring the date 9.9.2014 and a cryptic "Wish we could say more" teaser, on Aug. 28. The invitation email said that the event will be held at 10 a.m. Sept. 9 at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino.

That's all Apple wrote. And the company isn't saying anything more about the event before it happens.

No further details were released on whether the event will reveal the new iPhone 6 or a first-ever iWatch, or even whether it could include news of a rumored new 12.9-inch iPad that was recently making the rounds in the news cycle.

One new pre-event rumor circulating is that Apple is working with Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors NV to add pay-by-touch capabilities to the next iPhones, using near-field communications (NFC) technology, according to a report by The Financial Times. "Several people familiar with Apple's plans say NXP will provide the secure near-field communications chips that will allow an iPhone to connect with payment terminals or ticketing systems, as well as opening up the possibility for other applications in the 'Internet of Things,'" the report stated. Using NFC technology, devices can communicate and share information wirelessly by tapping them together.

It is not known if the Sept. 9 product event will include devices with this new capability.

Apple rumors have been swirling recently as the Sept. 9 event was reported in news stories over the last few weeks. Earlier this week, rumors of a larger 12.9-inch iPad surfaced based on reports that iPad component and parts suppliers are preparing for such new devices. The 12.9-inch iPad, which would be the largest version built so far, could be released in early 2015.

The larger iPad rumor surfaced in an Aug. 27 story by Bloomberg about how Apple parts and component suppliers are gearing up to assemble the larger devices starting in the first quarter of 2015. The report was based on talks with unnamed people involved in the manufacturing process.

"The new iPad will have a screen measuring 12.9 inches diagonally, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren't public," the story reported. Apple has "been working with suppliers for at least a year to develop a new range of larger touch-screen devices, said the people."

Today's iPads come in a regular 9.7-inch screen size and in an iPad mini with a 7.9-inch screen.

Tablet sales have been slowing around the globe in 2014, with worldwide tablet shipments down nearly 36 percent in the first quarter of 2014, compared with the fourth holiday-benefiting quarter of 2013, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Those figures, from research firm IDC, said that tablet sales for the first quarter grew just 4 percent over the same period in 2013. The slowdown was felt across screen sizes and operating systems, according to the company.

Apple could be trying to offer a new larger iPad to boost sales in the tablet marketplace.

Sept. 9 has also been mentioned as a possible launch date for Apple's long-rumored iWatch, according to a recent eWEEK report. However, no one is really sure when the smartwatch will actually be introduced by the company, or when it will be available for sale in the United States and around the world.

An eWEEK report on the coming iWatch back in June said it will likely include a display that measures 2.5 inches on the diagonal and is nearly square, and that Apple expects to ship 50 million units in the first year of the device's release.