applelogo.png The Cupertino-based company has sent out the invites for next week's launch event for the iPhone 5. With the iPad Mini likely shifted to October, expect Apple to focus strongly on the new hardware and software features as it struggles to offer differentiation in an increasingly level playing field of superphones. 

What's in a Name?

The Apple invite offers little in the way of hints to dig for, with a great big shadowy "5" suggesting the device will actually be called iPhone 5 rather than any of the other suggested monikers. The phone's design and iOS 6 features have been discussed to death, with most of the physical features leaked as prototype parts or actual components. 


Hitting New Heights?

As usual, there will be a massive wave of hype as the product is shown off in full form for the first time. Even with the new design, there are so many varied devices with screen resolutions, mega-cameras, novel materials and built-in features, that Apple could struggle to stand out from the crowd.

This time it will be the new software features that really need to shine, to help keep up Apple's momentum. After the relatively niche appeal of Siri, what can Apple add this time beyond the shown-in-beta maps and other tweaks? 

The new iPhone should be available for pre-order straight after the event (and after the Apple store has recovered from the inevitable surge and crash). it is likely to go onsale around the 21 September, but with so many users on long term contracts or having migrated to other devices, the days of huge queues flooding stores (outside China) are likely to be over.