Apple shuts down online store in advance of iPhone launch event

You can't do any shopping at the Apple Store for now as it's officially offline while Apple preps for its upcoming iPhone launch event.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Lance Whitney
Shara Tibken
3 min read

The Apple Store has been taken down ahead of Wednesday's iPhone event. But it'll be back up in several hours. screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Apple's online store is closed for business right now. But don't worry, it's not a glitch. That's Apple's standard process as it gets ready to unveil new products.

Apple shut down its online store early Wednesday morning in advance of its latest press event scheduled for 10 a.m. PT. Apple shuts down its store before each major event. As usual, a message on the company's Apple Store page says: "We'll be back. We're busy updating the Apple Store for you and will be back soon."

You can still browse the overall website to check out Apple's different products and services; you just can't buy anything. The store usually returns to life soon after the event is over, displaying all the new products up for sale.

Apple typically introduces its newest iPhones in September, followed by another event in October for the iPad. This year, though, it looks like Apple will use September to showcase both of its mobile devices.

The company may have a full agenda in store this time. Apple is expected to announce its next-generation iPhones -- likely dubbed the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. It may also introduce a new iPad lineup, possibly an iPad Pro with a 12.9-inch screen and an iPad Mini 4. A major upgrade to Apple TV may be on tap. And the company will officially launch its new iOS 9 and Mac OS X El Capitan software.

TUNE IN: Catch CNET's live blog here.

This is an off-year for the iPhone, which means the new edition will likely sport one or two major new features but mostly upgrades to its processor, camera and a few other parts. The star feature for the new iPhones is expected to be the Force Touch technology used in the Apple Watch, a pressure-sensitive display that responds based on how much pressure you apply with your finger. A new color iPhone may be up Apple's sleeve as well. Some rumors claim Apple has tweaked the device's display and components and slightly changed the design to fit in a bigger battery.

The iPhone remains Apple's bread and butter, now accounting for about two-thirds of its annual revenue. Apple upped its game a year ago when it launched its first big-screened iPhones -- the iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch display and the iPhone 6 Plus with a 5.5-inch display. The larger screens have helped Apple bump up its sales and market share in the smartphone arena. The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will reportedly stick with the same screen sizes.

The iPad has become a smaller part of Apple's business, with sales and market share falling year over year for six consecutive quarters. The rollout of a larger iPad could help boost demand for the tablet, especially if Apple can market it as a laptop replacement, similar to Microsoft's Surface Pro series. And the Apple TV hasn't received a major update in three years, so that device is due for an overhaul.

Whatever is in store, you can follow it all here, live on CNET. Our pre-event coverage begins around 9 a.m. PT, noon ET, 5 p.m. UK and 1 a.m. AEST, and we'll be live-blogging when the event starts an hour later.