Just as it does before all major product announcements, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has taken its Internet store offline this morning.
Going to store.apple.com right now will show you an explanatory greeting that the company is "busy updating the Apple Store for you and will be back soon." Then it cycles through the same message in a variety of languages. Apple's online store went down Tuesday around 8:20 a.m. EDT ahead of the company's big launch event, which begins at 1 p.m. EDT (10 a.m. PDT).
Apple has previously orchestrated its keynote events so that the store is back online at the event's end, ready to distribute info on new products and field preorders. If the pundits are calling it right, then the store might go back online to accommodate booming interest in a 4.7-inch iPhone, a 5.5-inch iPhone, and a smartwatch that can facilitate mobile payments and health tracking. There's no specific launch date announced yet, but the obsessive folks who follow this stuff expect a Sept. 19 launch to be most likely. Others are also anticipating an early 2015 launch.