LOS ANGELES (CBS News) — Apple’s marketing meisters must be trading high fives today with the iPhone 5 about to make that magical transition from “Everyone’s Favorite Rumor” to the new “it” device of 2011. Earlier today, Apple notified reporters that it will be holding an iPhone event next Tuesday at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. No further details about what’s on tap but you don’t need the Amazing Kreskin to figure this one out.
But when it comes to unannounced Apple products, the fun never stops. Some have even suggested that Apple might have more than a single iPhone ready to go. That was the gist of a note put out earlier this month by J.P. Morgan Analyst Mark Moskowitz who expects two new smartphones this year. Fueling the fire was none other than former U.S. vice president (and more importantly, Apple board member Al Gore, who also hinted last week that Apple may launch two iPhones. His exact quote: “Not to mention the new iPhones coming out next month,” Gore said during the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in South Africa.
One big difference this time around: No Steve Jobs on hand to preside over the festivities. With Jobs’ resignation as CEO, this product debut will mark CEO Tim Cook’s official coming out party. And barring a last-minute bait-and-switch, this promises to be quite a big deal as iPhone 5 will be the first Apple device available on the three biggest carriers in the U.S.–AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. (No official word yet on Sprint but several reports recently confirm that an announcement is in the offing.)
The press invites sent off the predictable media scrum as the rumors swirling around what may – or may not – get packed into the next iPhone have been building since late summer. Benefiting from the intense speculation, shares of Apple have continued to soar. Despite several Dow-wide market meltdowns this summer, the company’s stock remains near its 52-week high and was hovering around $403 by early afternoon.
Only one big downside on the horizon: Now that the iPhone 5 is about to become the real deal, how will all the rumor-mongers fill that missing void in their lives? Ah, of course: iPhone 6.