Apple has closed its online store as a prelude to tonight's Apple event at the Yerba Beuna Center in San Francisco.

The closure of the Apple online store is typically used to herald the announcement of new products available for sale. Apple is expected to announce the iPad 2 today at 6pm GTM, although the device is not expected to be availalbe immediately. However, it could be that Apple will be taking pre-orders from today with the intention of delivering at a later date.

Apple could also be announcing other products today as well as the iPad 2. The company is expected to launch an update to the iOS software and perhaps provide details on features in a future iteration of the software that runs the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. However neither these or any other software updates would warrant closure of the store.

We are not expecting an update to iWork until Mac OS X 10.7 lion is released, and it is assumed that the update will be available via the Mac App Store rather than the online store. Apple could also tie in tonight's events with new iMacs.

Predominantly though we expect it to be the iPad 2 pre-order scheme.

Click here to follow our live feed from the Apple event.