Hundreds of journalists are swarming around San Francisco for the launch of Apple’s new iPhone 7.
Hailed as one of the most important events in the technology calendar, Apple is heightening the tension by staying tight-lipped about the new phone’s design and features.
Meanwhile, the online Apple store has closed pending the arrival of the new product.
Instead, the web site is displaying a message from Apple: “We’ve got something special in store for you and we can’t wait for you to see it. Please check back soon.
“Don’t panic! Apple always takes down the store ahead of a big product launch.”
The major topic of iPhone chatter is about the rumour that the headphone jack has gone so designers can make the new phone thinner.
The smart money suggests the new phone will ship with Lightning or wireless headphones – probably Bluetooth. If they are not wireless, it’s likely they will connect to the charging port.
Two new cover colours are expected – black and grey to add to the white, ivory and rose gold already available with iPhone 6.
Other expected improvements are an upgraded 12-megapixel camera with two lenses and better low light shooting and a faster processor.
Pundits claim the lower memory capacities of the iPhone will be dropped for 32gb to 256gb versions.
Apple is planning to unveil two new iPhone 7 – a standard and plus version – and a new Apple Watch with better phone integration.
Battle of smartphones
Information about availability and price outside America is still awaited, but the US version is expected to ship with a week or two of launch and cost between $600 and $900 depending on the spec of the phone.
Apple is launching the new iPhone in the wake of the disastrous effort by rival Samsung to steal their thunder by bringing the Note 7 to market ahead of them.
Millions of Samsung handsets have been recalled after more than 30 phones burst into flames due to battery problems.
The previous Apple handset, the iPhone 6S holds the record as the world’s bestselling smartphone.
Apple shipped more than 14 million iPhone 6S in the second quarter of the year, compared to 8.3 million units by Samsung in the same period.