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Apple Store down for iPhone 5S and 5C announcement

"We'll be back", says Apple as it shutters the online Apple Store in preparation for tonight's new iPhone 5S and 5C.

"We'll be back", says Apple. The Apple Store is down, shuttered in readiness for the announcement of tonight's long-awaited new iPhone 5S and 5C smart phones. Exciting stuff!

That's what we're expecting, anyway, at Apple's announcement at 6pm. It's hotly-anticipated in anyone's language.

CNET is front and centre at Apple's big event in San Francisco for our up-to-the-minute live blog, on-the-spot photos and hands-on first impressions here -- and the pre-match opinions and insight are already flying as you read this:

Apple is expected to reveal a fingerprint-scanning iPhone 5S and a colourful plastic iPhone 5C in San Francisco, each of which will be furnished with the finished version of iOS 7.

Quite why Apple closes the online Apple Store before every event is a mystery -- what, they've got little virtual Apple geniuses restocking little digital shelves made of bits and pixels? It's just a bit of theatre in the run-up to an announcement.

The closure of the Apple Store does sometimes suggest that whatever's announced will be on sale through the store straight away, as soon as the web page returns; but the new iPhone (iPhones?) won't be on sale for a bit yet.

Are you excited about the new iPhone? Has Apple had its day now Samsung is the biggest blower-builder in the world? Tell me your thoughts in the comments, or keep us posted throughout the evening on our Facebook page.