Apple has sent out invitations for a 'special event' next week
Technology giant Apple has fuelled rumours it will launch a new version of its best-selling iPhone by announcing a "special event" only hours before two of its competitors unveiled two new devices.
The secretive firm sent out invitations for the event next week ahead of Wednesday's announcement in New York by Nokia and Microsoft where they revealed details of two new phones which will run on Microsoft's Windows operating system.
The Nokia Lumia 920 and Nokia Lumia 820 are the Finnish company's attempt to claw back lost ground since it lost its position as the world's biggest phonemaker to Samsung.
The firm described the 920 as its "flagship" product and it boasts a high powered camera described as the equivalent of "a standalone SLR camera" and can be recharged without being plugged in.
The Apple emails, sent on Tuesday to selected journalists, invite them to an event on Wednesday September 12 and includes the line "it's almost here".
It also features a figure 12 with a shadow that appears to be the number 5 - seemingly confirming the company will announce the arrival of the iPhone 5.
The events typically involve Apple executives unveiling new products at their California base - which are carried by videolink live to a central London location.
It is around a year since the firm unveiled the iPhone 4S complete with voice recognition software and an A5 chip allowing it to use much faster graphics for gameplay and to download data twice as fast.
The 4S also has an eight megapixel camera with five lenses, one more than the iPhone4, which results in sharper pictures and allows users to take HD video.
The new phone is expected to sell well. Thousands of gadget fans queued to get their hands on the iPhone 4S when it first went on sale.