Apple has invited members of the media to a September 12 event in San Francisco for what is expected to be the debut of a new-generation iPhone.
Email invitations bore the cryptic message, “It’s almost here,” and a large number “12″ casting a shadow that appeared to be the number five, suggesting that the event would spotlight the long-anticipated iPhone 5.
Leaks and rumors portray the new iPhone as having a larger touch-screen than its predecessor and that it will be available by the end of the month.
Meanwhile, Nokia said it is launching a free music streaming service for US customers with its Lumia handsets, without ads, as the Finnish firm seeks to gain traction in the smartphone market.
The announcement came a day ahead of a news event with Nokia and US giant Microsoft widely expected to launch one or more smartphones using the Windows Phone 8 operating system.
The music service will offer “over 150 exclusive playlists that are curated and kept up to date by an expert team of US based musicologists,” Nokia said.
“The playlists span a wide spectrum of musical genres from underground Detroit house tracks to New York Philharmonic favorites. Nokia Music also offers playlists created by global artists such as Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga and Rihanna.”
Nokia said users of its devices can create their own “personal soundtrack” by creating playlists based on preferred artists.
“Completely advertisement-free, and requiring no registration or subscription, Nokia Music lets consumers immerse themselves in the dulcet tones of their favorite artists without being disrupted,” the statement said.
“For maximum convenience, Nokia Music playlists can also be enjoyed offline so consumers can listen to their favorite playlists anytime, anywhere — perfect for a long flight, journey to work or train ride.”
Users can also download songs from Nokia Music’s mp3 store.
“The USA is the most vibrant and competitive digital music market in the world — by a wide margin,” said Jyrki Rosenberg, Nokia’s vice president of entertainment.
“We have worked extra hard to ensure our service meets the expectations of the demanding, active and inspired music fans in the USA. I would like to challenge everyone to try Nokia Music and see just how easy and enjoyable the service is to use.”
Consumers who own a Nokia Lumia 900 or Nokia Lumia 710 can download the Nokia Music app for free.”
Nokia, once the leader in mobile phones, has been losing market share as consumers move to smartphones powered by Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android operating system.
The Finnish company’s new strategy is phasing out its Symbian smartphones in favor of a partnership with Microsoft.
That alliance has produced a first line of Lumia smartphones, which Nokia is counting on to help it survive in a rapidly changing landscape.