On Wednesday, Apple will unveil something new. Apple's not saying much yet about what it plans to show off on March 7; the invitation's close-up photo of an iPad and its sparse text ("We have something you really have to see. And touch.") are the only clues the company has offered thus far.
If you're a regular reader of Macworld, if you follow Apple news anywhere on the Web, or if you simply follow technology news anywhere on the Web--you already know that this Apple event is happening. (You should also know to follow Macworld's live blog of the event on Wednesday at 10 a.m. PT to find out precisely what Apple has planned for us.) And you know that the general expectation for the event is that Apple will specifically take the wraps off a new incarnation of the iPad, sporting a much-improved display.
Isn't that something?
The Apple event lifecycle
Apple events like Wednesday's have a lifecycle all their own, and it's a lengthy one. For months, there are rumors about what Apple may or may not be working on--many of those rumors laughably off-base. Then there are even rumors about when Apple will host its next special event to announce new stuff. News agencies rush to be first to report the those dates once they're confirmed; even the dates of Apple announcements themselves are news.
At some point, Apple emails invitations to chosen members of the technology press. Thus begins another round of mad scurrying, as Macworld, other tech publications, and broader news organizations scramble to publish stories about the invitations--and to tweet about the news, too. And then the invitation dissection begins.
This time around, online debate centered on whether Apple's invitation showcased an iPad without a Home button, or whether odd cropping, device orientation, or overzealous Photoshop work was responsible. In addition to studying Apple's invitation art pixel by pixel, of course, pundits analyze the text as well: In our own piece predicting what Apple might announce this week, my colleague Dan Moren and I wondered whether the "And touch" line in Apple's invitation might imply some sort of haptic feedback could appear, say, when typing on the next iPad's virtual keyboard.
On Wednesday, the rumors will stop, however briefly. That's when Apple will actually host the heavily-anticipated event, with at least a dozen sites (including Macworld) liveblogging the showcase for huge online audiences. Major news networks will cover Apple's announcements on their Wednesday broadcasts. And come Thursday--or, more realistically, come Wednesday afternoon--pundits will start punditing again, weighing in on the positives and negatives of whatever the heck it is that Apple pulls out of its virtual hat.
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