What is Apple planning for 19 May?

10th anniversary of first Apple Stores opening

Apple could be planning to mark the 10th anniversary of the first Apple Stores opening in Virginia and California with a major product launch, according to reports.

As Macworld reported last month, Apple Store staff requests for holiday over the weekend of 20 - 22 May have been turned down.

Now, the Boy Genius Report website claims that "a solid Apple source" has told of strange goings on at many Apple Stores.

For a start, around 10 to 15 Apple Store staffers will work an overnight shift on Saturday night into Sunday morning in each store, the report claims. The staff working this shift will have their mobile phones taken from them and locked away.

Black curtains will be put on windows in Apple Stores to stop passers-by seeing what is going on, and the staff working the shift will have to sign a non-disclosure agreement with Apple.

The stores have already received some unidentified hardware in preparation for the Saturday night shift, and more hardware will be delivered to the stores before the weekend. None of the boxes can be opened until Saturday night.

It had been speculated that there would be a weekend-long event taking place in Apple Stores to mark the anniversary, though if this report is correct it looks like Sunday will be the day where all is revealed.

However, it remains to be seen exactly what Apple is planning - it's unlikely to be a new iPhone launch, new iPods are not expected until December and a third-generation iPad is out of the question.

UPDATE: Apple Insider claims to have heard a rumour that Apple is introducing facilities into its stores to accept payments using NFC (Near Field Communications) technology, and that this is the reason for the strange occurrences.

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Ben Camm-Jones

Macworld U.K.

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