Apple’s online store will be unavailable Tuesday morning until 8:30 AM eastern time, leading to speculation that a product refresh is about to happen. The company’s own System Status webpage was the tip-off, and since Apple always takes its store offline ahead of product releases the interent is flipping out over the possibility of something new showing up on the page.

Apple Online Store down time hints at new product announcements, maybe

Apple’s online store will be down from 3 AM until 8:30 AM eastern time (or 1 AM to 6:30 AM mountain time) on Tuesday

The Apple System Status page lists all current and scheduled service down times, including the Apple Online Store. In this case, it shows the store unavailable from 3 AM until 8:30 AM eastern time, which coincides with the down time we typically see when new products or refreshes come out.

Speculation on what’s in store ranges from a Product(RED) iPhone to updated iMacs, to the rumored 10.5-inch iPad. While a completely new iPad doesn’t sound like the sort of thing Apple would release without a media event, a RED iPhone or refreshed iMac is totally plausible.

Still, Apple likes its surprises and telegraphing a product update the day before it’s announced doesn’t seem like the sort of thing the company would overlook. That means it’s just as likely the store is going offline for backend ser

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The other thing is that product refreshes usually take just a few minutes. Sometimes it goes down and they wait an hour or two for the Keynote to finish, but otherwise they can do it very quickly. This is a five and a half hour outage. Strikes me as far more likely that they are making major changes to infrastructure. Also I understand that online Phoptos services will be impacted as well. This all points to back end upgrades and service.