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Is Apple Planning a Major Launch This Week?

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May 2001. Weezer was trying to reclaim its former Pinkerton glory. Kids were discovering a new way to annoy their parents with Shrek. And Apple made a triumphant debut in the retail market.

Yes, believe it or not, Apple opened its first retail location in Tysons Corner Center, Virginia. Steve Jobs was on hand to give journalists a tour of the space that would soon evolve into a multi-billion-dollar chain of stores worldwide.

With this Thursday marking the shop's 10-year anniversary, some believed that Cupertino could be planning a surprise for customers. And according to Boy Genius Report, that surprise looks even more likely.

Speaking with a "solid Apple Source," BGR is reporting that Apple Store employees have been preparing for a "major launch" this week. An overnight shift is planned for 10-15 Apple employees from late Saturday to early Sunday. During that time, black curtains will be drawn on the windows and staffers cannot communicate outside the shop -- they'll have to sign an NDA and keep their cellphones locked up overnight. Yikes.

Of the roles for the overnight shift, BGR's source says there will be on hand "all visuals staff, a manager, a business team member, a few Genius team members, one back-of-house employee, and a few generic Apple specialists."

Apparently, the locations have already received the mystery hardware, but remain under lock and key. "Gigabytes of data" of training instructions also have been downloaded and kept in a password-protected folder -- only to be read and studied on Saturday afternoon, and culminating with mandatory meetings on Sunday.

Wow. Sounds really, really big.

As of now, no one has definite word what the launch could be, though some have ventured a guess that it could be the new Mac OS X Lion. Certainly, that would necessitate intensive training and a major Apple Store release. But with the preview version released only last week, a final retail version could be a tad premature.

Either way, when Apple goes full lock-down surrounding a launch, it's always an exciting time.

(See also: Apple Picks the Worst Time to Go Subtle and AT&T: No New iPhone Before August)
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.