May 17, 2011 at 1:46 PM ET
Apple Store employees will have to give up their phones Saturday and have them locked away in the stores' offices for 24 hours; word is that Apple is planning something major to be announced, shared and/or sold on Sunday tied to the 10th anniversary of the opening of its first retail stores.
Just what that something is isn't known, but Boy Genius Report says it will be black-curtain time on all the windows at Apple's stores Saturday night, the curtains a traditional Apple tease to the unveiling of a new product.
What's more, BGR says based on "information from a solid Apple source," between 10 to 15 employees at each store will be working an overnight shift Saturday through mid-Sunday, and that "Apple stores have apparently already received hardware to install, and are expecting more hardware to come on Friday or Saturday. All materials that Apple stores have received have been instructed to be under lock and key until after close on Saturday night." Also:
Employees have had to download gigabytes of data from Apple corporate labeled, "training" in a password-protected zipped folder that won’t accessible to managers or anyone else until Saturday afternoon.
Lastly, all Apple retail stores have mandatory meetings on Sunday, May 22nd. Most meeting are scheduled for the morning, but there are evening meetings as well.
While no one knows for sure what's up, AppleInsider suggests "one potential product could be the rumored iCloud service that is expected to play a major role in future versions of iOS and Mac OS, and also offer streaming music and media capabilities. In April, Reuters reported that Apple's work on its new streaming music service was 'completed,' while a separate report claimed that Apple has inked deals with two major record labels."
Daniel Ionescu, at PCWorld, says the big event could mean Apple is "ready to launch 'long-rumored' products such as a TV set, or a free MobileMe service." Or, he wrote, perhaps Apple is "just redecorating."
The actual 10th anniversary of Apple's stores is May 19. On that day in 2001, the first two stores opened in Tysons Corner mall in Virginia and in Glendale, Calif., at the Glendale Galleria. The company now has more than 300 stores worldwide; more than 200 of them are in the U.S.