Around 1PM Eastern Time, if tradition holds, expect the connection to Apple's update servers to collapse into a sea of mush as millions of iPhone and iPad users rush to try out the latest features offered by the new mobile OS.
What's New Where You Are?
While the press response to the iPhone 5 might have been slightly muted, the hype and sales are going into overtime. But the phone is nothing without its OS, and the new version of iOS is a pretty big deal. While we've already covered most of the features in iOS 6.0 from the recent Apple launches and developer events, there's nothing quite like having it in your hands.
The action should begin around 10AM PST, 6PM U.K. and 3AM Thursday for Sydney, Australia. That goes especially for those happy with their current iPhone or iPad who aren't upgrading soon. Out of the new apps, we're looking forward to Passbook the most, to manage all those tickets and vouchers.
The new Maps app will be worth a play, while, for general use, the improved integration with Facebook will be most welcome. Then there's the uprated Siri, will she prove more than just a gimmick for most users this time?
However, for our readership spread around the globe, don't get too excited as some features might not necessarily be available in your area. Check Apple's exhaustive list to see what you get. So, only the Land of the Free will enjoy 3D Buildings in Navigation, while much of Europe gets Traffic and Business Reviews, but Aussies get traffic updates but not turn-by-turn. Expect updates over time to balance things out.
Bringing the Little Guns
But, even after a new OS and iPhone, Apple isn't done yet with the expected release of a mini-iPad next month. Pictures of that (hey, its just like a small iPad) are now leaking out, and we also have the new iTunes (which is getting a much-needed overhaul) and iPods too.
Google is the big loser in the new iOS, seeing YouTube and its map services removed. There is already an official Google YouTube app available to replace the loss, while Google Earth has long been a favorite. While losing front-page position is a minor blow, that will probably be countered by the increase in advertising revenue it will get now mobile ads that can be shown in the new app.
All of which puts Apple neatly placed to face the challenges from new Amazon hardware, improved Samsung devices and whatever else Microsoft can add to the fray when it starts to actually launch Windows 8 hardware. Apple's gentle move into the enterprise space, will certainly be challenged.
If Microsoft can pull off the comeback of all time with Windows Phone 8, Surface tablets and other mobile gadgets, 2013 will be a gripping year as the competitor's huge budgets are put to good use in what will be a massive marketing war.