Apple Builds iPhone 5 Fortress of Secrecy

We may not know for certain what Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has planned this week, but there’s no denying the iPhone maker is preparing to wow us yet again as it beefs up security around Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the facade of which has already been smothered by Apple branding ahead of the September 12 event.

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So far there’s no signage on the inside of the building that might hint at what’s to come — Apple seems to have learned its lesson after photos from inside its WWDC location were leaked ahead of the event earlier this year.

Security around the YBCA is unsurprisingly tight, with visible Apple security officers guarding trucks, equipment, and all entrances.

Though it’s rare for Apple to successfully surprise close watchers, the California-based company still likes to keep tight-lipped about it’s latest projects, one of which is thought to be a 7-inch iPad with a decidedly lower price tag than the current entry-level model. While it’s a near certainty that Apple will use Wednesday’s event to announce the long-awaited iPhone 5, which is sure to be accompanied by the launch of iOS 6, it’s not clear whether Apple has anything else in store.

But analysts, investors, and enthusiasts are all hoping for a little something more, and the first iPad Mini would certainly do the trick. Last week, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced plans to launch in November a higher-end Kindle Fire that would compete with current iterations of Apple’s iPad. With a major competitor encroaching on its own territory, it’s time Apple competed more broadly in the tablet market, and a more portable iPad with a significantly lower price point would help the company do just that.

It seems unlikely Apple could have kept so many details of the iPad Mini a secret if it was very far along in production — after all, most details of the new iPhone have been leaked in recent months — but perhaps that’s what makes the prospect of such a launch so appealing. Apple watchers always want a surprise — to confirm this statement, one need only watch the initial drop in Apple shares after an event at which nothing unexpected is announced.

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