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Apple gears up for big unveiling

– Apple’s latest product launch will be in a setting that holds a special place in its history, signaling how big the event is for the company.

The Sept. 9 launch, which is expected to feature a larger iPhone and possibly a computerized watch, will be in the same Silicon Valley venue where Apple’s late co-founder, Steve Jobs, took the wraps off the original Mac computer 30 years ago. That machine was hailed as a major breakthrough that helped bring personal computing to the masses.

These events have become an annual rite since the 2007 release of the iPhone, but this year’s may be the most highly anticipated since the iPad came out in 2010. A “smartwatch” or other wearable technology would mark the company’s first foray into a new product category since the iPad came out.

“Wish we could say more,” Apple said in a succinct white invitation mailed out Thursday.

The company scheduled the event at an auditorium about 3 miles from its Cupertino, California, headquarters. It seats about 2,300 people, far more than the places Apple usually uses to show off its new products.

Apple watchers expect an iPhone with a larger screen than the 4-inch display on the previous two generations of the device. The iPhone 6 is expected to feature a 4.7-inch screen to make it more competitive with larger smartphones made by Samsung Electronics and other rivals relying on Google Inc.’s free Android software. There also has been speculation that Apple may release another iPhone model with a 5.5-inch screen.

Although the iPhone is Apple’s biggest moneymaker, much of the intrigue around this year’s event surrounds the possibility that the company may release a long-awaited smartwatch that could help monitor people’s health and serve as control center for Internet-connected appliances and electronics in the home.

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