Apple Store is down: iPhone 5 incoming!

Fresh to the "comes as no surprise to anybody" column comes word that Apple's online store has gone down for updating, ahead of the iPhone 5 launch expected later on today. The by-now traditional downtime gives Apple's technical staff time to prepare the store for the latest round of Cupertino goodies, today expected to include not only a new iPhone but freshly updated iPods, too.

The new iPhone is tipped to have a larger display than all previous generations, closer to 4-inches than the current 3.5-inches, with a body that has been kept roughly the same width but stretched lengthways. It's also believed to include LTE connectivity, but there's controversy over whether it will add NFC hardware and, if it's there, whether it will be activated for any particular service from the outset.

As for the other kit we're expecting, new iPods have been on the cards for some time. A larger iPod touch, echoing the new screen and resolution of the iPhone 5, is predicted, along with a refresh to the iPod nano and iPod shuffle.

Both ranges are said to use a smaller dock connector, which will allow Apple to not only make the hardware smaller than the current, 30-pint connector allows, but to more strictly control third-party accessories. Updated headphone designs are also in the pipeline, sources claim.

SlashGear will be liveblogging the whole Apple announcement, so join us at from 10AM PT (that's 1PM ET and 6PM if you're in the UK) for all the news as it happens.