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Ready for iPhone 5? Apple announces event next week

Brandon Griggs, CNN
Apple sent this media invite to its September 12 event, widely expected to be the launch of the next iPhone.
Apple sent this media invite to its September 12 event, widely expected to be the launch of the next iPhone.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Apple is inviting the media to an event in San Francisco on Wednesday, September 12
  • The event is widely expected to be the launch of the next iPhone
  • Among its rumored new features are a slightly larger screen and a smaller dock connector

(CNN) -- It's looking like Apple's next version of its iconic smartphone will be called the iPhone 5.

On Tuesday, the secretive company sent e-mails to members of the media, inviting them to an "invitation-only event" in San Francisco on Wednesday, September 12.

The event is widely expected to be the launch of the next iPhone, but in typically cryptic Apple fashion, the invitation reveals little about what will be announced. The tagline says only, "It's almost here."

Fifty years ago, the first push-button telephone was introduced. The electronic system featured Touch-Tone dialing and was offered to Bell customers on November 18, 1963. Click through the gallery to see a visual history of the telephone. Fifty years ago, the first push-button telephone was introduced. The electronic system featured Touch-Tone dialing and was offered to Bell customers on November 18, 1963. Click through the gallery to see a visual history of the telephone.
A visual history of the telephone
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Photos: A visual history of the telephone Photos: A visual history of the telephone

Of course, that never stops Apple obsessives from parsing the invite for clues. This time, the shadow of the number 12 reveals a not-so-subtle "5," reinforcing speculation that the new device will be called iPhone 5 instead of iPhone 4G or something else.

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The official announcement of the September 12 date confirms what several media outlets first reported five weeks ago, citing anonymous sources at Apple.

A fall iPhone release has been considered a foregone conclusion by most observers for months. Among the device's rumored new features are a slightly larger screen, a faster processor, a smaller dock connector and possibly NFC technology that would make it easier for shoppers to make payments through their phones.

iMore, the first blog to pinpoint the September 12 launch date, has also said pre-orders will begin that day and that the phone will be released nine days later, on September 21.

Many pundits also expect Apple to launch a smaller version of its popular iPad tablet at a separate event, likely in October.

Next week's Apple event will begin at 10 a.m. PT. CNN Tech will be liveblogging the announcement.

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