Out of nowhere, Apple is rumored to reveal a new product over the weekend, sending Apple Stores into lockdown mode on Saturday night to prepare.
It's a strange little rumor, because Apple products -- and most tech products in general -- see a lot of chatter in the press before they're officially announced. In this case, there are no immediately launches in the rumor mill, so we can only guess what will transpire.
I'm not predicting any iOS products, given the iPad's recent launch, the rumors of a September iPhone launch and the proximity to the Worldwide Developers Conference, where big iOS developments will be announced. So here are some other predictions on what Apple will reveal this weekend:
Apple refreshed the entry-level Macbook almost exactly a year ago, making it a decent candidate given Apple's tendency toward yearly hardware cycles. But a Sunday launch would be odd, as would all the supposed secrecy for this launch -- Apple is reportedly covering up its storefronts on Saturday night while employees work overtime to set up the new hardware.
Apple's long-awaited Web services could finally arrive over the weekend. Aside from the iPhone, it's the only product that's been a constant source of recent Apple rumors. On the other hand, I'd expect Apple to hold off on this announcement until its Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
A follow-up rumor from Boy Genius Report says Apple is installing NFC payment systems in its stores, but it's not clear how this relates to the rumored product reveal. It could be the only thing Apple is doing, or it could be just a part of some other product. But given the off-and-on rumors about NFC in future iPhones, I can understand why Apple would want to keep the whole thing secret.
Special-Edition iPod Classic
The iPod is also nearing its tenth anniversary, having launched in October 2001. The MP3 player was a big part of the Apple Store's early allure, so perhaps Apple wants to commemorate the product with something special. And consider this: the lowly iPod Classic was the only music player that didn't get a refresh last September.
Lest we get ahead of ourselves, Apple's weekend plans are just a rumor, so there's a chance that Sunday will bring nothing but business as usual to the Apple Store. We'll see.