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Apple Store goes down in advance of iPad event

With Thursday's event just a few hours away, Apple has taken down its retail site as it likely preps it to showcase new products.

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The Apple Store is down now but will be back. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Apple's online store is now offline.

The company took down its online retail store at around 5:30 a.m. PT on Thursday as it gets set for a launch event in which it's likely to unveil new iPads, updated Macs, and perhaps a few surprises. Apple is also expected to officially unveil its next operating system -- OS X Yosemite.

The event itself kicks off at 10 a.m. PT. CNET will cover the event via a live blog.

New iPads will likely be the star of the show. However, many users already got an advanced and accidental peek at Apple's new tablets. On Wednesday, the company inadvertantly posted screenshots of its upcoming iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 in an official user guide to Apple's iOS 8 operating system for iBooks in the iTunes Store.

Apple has since replaced the images with screenshots of the current iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display. But the user guide showed photos of the new iPads with the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. The images also revealed a new Burst Mode that lets users take "rapid-fire" photos, a feature that will be available for the iPad Air 2.

Click here to follow CNET's live blog from Thursday's Apple event

The company is certainly hoping its new iPads will help boost its tablet sales and market share. The iPad may be Apple's second biggest moneymaker, at around 15 percent to 20 percent of revenue, but the device hasn't been selling as well as it used to. Android tablets have carved out a larger chunk of the market over the past couple of years. And tablets in general aren't quite as popular as they once were as more consumers increasingly opt for big-screen smartphones and phablets.

The Mac business might not be as big as Apple's mobile business, but it remains a key focus for the company. Apple now generates less than 15 percent of its revenue from Macs, but the devices help flesh out its family of products -- which are increasingly designed to work together. Two products long overdue for an upgrade are the iMac and the Mac Mini, so Apple could reveal new and updated editions of either one or both.

Apple will likely show off OS X Yosemite on Thursday. The company may also reveal more about Apple Pay, its new mobile mobile payments system.

Apple's website will most certainly come back to life sometime during or shortly after the event following the unveiling of its new iPads and other products.