As expected, Apple will be holding an iPhone event next Tuesday at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters.
The company sent an e-mail to select reporters earlier today, saying the event will start at 10 a.m. PT next week with an "executive presentation." Although Apple didn't specifically mention the iPhone 5 by name, speculation abounds that the company will unveil one, or perhaps two, iPhones at the event.
Rumors have been swirling for months over when Apple would finally unveil its next iPhone. In previous years, Apple has shown off a new version of its popular smartphone at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. However, the new iPhone was conspicuously missing from this year's event, prompting the rumor mill to speculate that Apple would wait until September or October to show off its latest handset.
Last week, All Things Digital reported, citing sources, that Apple would be holding a special event on October 4 that would be led by its new CEO Tim Cook. The publication's sources said that the new iPhone would go on sale "within a few weeks" after the announcement,
Exactly what Apple might show off at the event, though, is unknown. Some reports have suggested that the company could offer a new iPhone boasting only minor updates compared to its predecessor, the iPhone 4. Still others have said Apple's next iPhone will boast 4G connectivity, an edge-to-edge display, and several other major improvements.
There is also some question over how many iPhones will be demoed at the event. Early rumors have suggested that Apple would show off a single iPhone, but J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz said earlier this month that he expects Apple to launch two new smartphones this year. That sentiment was echoed by former U.S. Vice President and Apple board member Al Gore, who hinted last week that Apple was readying two iPhones.
"Not to mention the new iPhones coming out next month," Gore said during the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in South Africa.
Besides the iPhone, Apple will likely discuss iOS 5 and its cloud-based service, iCloud, which it unveiled at WWDC earlier this year.
Lost amid the discussion of new iPhones and iOS 5, however, is Tim Cook. Although Cook has quite a bit of experience at Apple events, this will be the first time he'll attend a launch as CEO. As noted, AllThingsD reported that Cook will lead the event, assuming the role that Apple Chairman Steve Jobs took on when he was CEO by coming out in the beginning and discussing major launches, while leaving many of the details to other executives.
There is a lot riding on Cook's showing at the event. The Apple CEO's presentation could go under the microscope of shareholders that want to see if he has the stage presence to deliver the larger-than-life persona Jobs brought to his company's major product announcements. What's more, shareholders will want to see if Apple's event with Cook at the helm will carry the same weight as those led by Jobs over the years.
But Cook isn't the only one to be lost in the iPhone's shadow. Conspicuously missing from Apple's invitation is any hint that music might be involved. The invitation itself is a clever play on iPhone icons that tell recipients when and where the event is, but it's also a departure from the display of a musical instrument or anything suggesting that we'll see iPods too.
For the past several years, September has been the time we see new iPods, but the month is nearly over, and it now seems unlikely that they'll be getting any fanfare of their own. Of course, that won't be much of a change, considering that there has been a general lack of iPod-related rumors over the past six months, short of reports of a white iPod Touch model and a return of the camcorder to the touch-screen version of the iPod Nano.
Then again, trying to predict what Apple will do at an event is difficult. Although discussions on the iPhone, iOS 5, and iCloud are a sure bet, there's no telling if Cook will pull out a "one more thing" at the end of the presentation.
Either way, CNET will be there to cover every last second of the event, so be sure to check back next Tuesday to see what Apple unveils.