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Why you should care where Apple launches iPhone 6

Apple history was made in Cupertino venue

Steve Jobs

As Apple investors gear up for the new iPhone 6, there is one seemingly minor element worth paying attention to: the venue where Apple is hosting the event.

AppleAAPL,+0.57% is holding Tuesday’smuch-anticipated rolloutat Flint Center in Cupertino, Calif., instead of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco where Apple typically hosts the press. The Mac faithful will remember Flint Center as a major venue for one of the most important events in Apple’s history — it is where Apple co-founder Steve Jobs took the original Macintosh out of a bag andintroduced the company’s first personal computermore than 30 years ago.

In addition, Apple also unfurled the iMac at Flint Center — the cute, florescent-colored computer with names like “Bondi Blue” was the first major product for Apple after Jobs returned, following his ouster from the company in 1985.

These were key events in the history of Apple. With Tuesday’s launch venue, which also holds almost double the number of attendees, Apple seems to be telling investors that it is launching its next big thing.Investors are eagerly awaiting the detailson what is believed to be a larger-screen iPhone, likely dubbed the iPhone 6. The phone is expected to have a screen made of the tougher sapphire glass, and will have its own payment system that will compete with eBay Inc.’sEBAY,+0.61% PayPal, GoogleGOOG,+0.62% Wallet, and Square.

But it is possible that the iWatch,which is also expected to be introduced, will garner even more attention. The watch would represent a new market of wearable devices. Apple does not comment on unannounced products, and in its invite to Tuesday’s event, it said, “Wish we could say more.”

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has told investors that the company would eventually enter a new market.Expectations are so high for Applethat Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves wrote in a note last week that if Apple’s new productsdon’t appear to have huge potential, he will likely downgrade the shares.

“This leaves limited room for upside to the stock, in our views, unless Apple launches new products that can generate billions of dollars in incremental operating profit,” Hargreaves wrote. “We will be looking for this type of potential at the Sept. 9 event, but are likely to downgrade Apple if we don’t see it.”

Mac fans, investors and consumers are anxious to see what kind of design Apple has created for a smartwatch, if indeed the reports are accurate.The New York Times recently quoted an unnamed designerat Apple as saying that Jony Ive, the company’s lead industrial designer, has bragged internally about how the entire Swiss watch-making industry will be in trouble soon.

That’s saying a lot, considering how unattractive most wearable devices are, including the current lot of smartwatches that combine computing functions or monitor or track your exercise, from the Samsung Galaxy Gear to the Nike Inc.NKE,+0.44%  FuelBand to the Pebble.

Investors are hoping that, as it has done in the past, Apple will upend a market with something that is better, sexier and easier to use than the earlier products.

So will Apple’s Next Big Thing be as important to the company as the original Macintosh? Investors will soon find out what Apple is so excited about, and whether Cook is delivering on his promises.

 

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