As expected, Apple Store goes dark ahead of iPhone launch event

Maintaining its tight control over the new device process, Apple has taken its store offline this morning ahead of the launch of several new products at a keynote this morning in San Francisco. At the event, Apple is expected to unveil the much-anticipated next iPhone, as well as a revamped iPod Touch and perhaps some changes to the iMac and MacBook lineups. The iPad Mini could be on display as well, though current rumors are pointing to an October event specifically geared for the smaller iPad.

The iPhone is expected to bump to a 4″ display, include support for global 4G LTE networks, switch to a smaller connector, as well as some internal component upgrades. We’re no longer expecting to see NFC in the new iPhone, though rumors out this morning are suggesting otherwise. The iPod Touch should see a similar upgrade in the screen department, and could come in several new colors instead of the black and white it’s been limited to in the past.

Finally, Apple will set the record straight once and for all just what this new iPhone is going to be called. Will it simply be called the iPhone, reflecting the company’s trend towards shedding numbers from its product releases, or will it follow suit and release as the iPhone 5? 9 to 5 Mac just suggested that the device will be called the iPhone 5, pointing to a search of iPhone 5 on Apple’s site pulls up a link for the iPhone 5 press release that has not yet gone live. Stores like Best Buy are preparing for both names, though I’m sure most consumers don’t actually care what the device is called, so long as it lets them look the hipster part with their friends.

The event kicks off at 10:00 am PST, so we’re just under 4 hours away. Stay tuned to IntoMobile for live coverage from the Yerba Buena Center. In the meantime, Kelly put together a fabulous look back at Apple keynotes of years past, and we highly suggest you check it out.

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