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Friday, May 12, 2006, 10:00 am PT (01:00 pm ET)

News Flash: Apple to hold press briefing next Thursday

Apple Computer next week will hold a special briefing in New York City for analysts and members of the media ahead of the launch of its latest flagship retail store, AppleInsider has learned.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, May 18th at 10am ET, the day before the Mac maker will open a new 20,000-square-foot retail store at 767 Fifth Avenue at 59th Street in Midtown, Manhattan.

In the invites to the event, Apple welcomed analysts and members of the media to preview the new flagship retail location ahead of its grand opening the following evening, but did not hint at any product introductions.

The event appears to be extremely limited in terms of attendance.

Previous reports had indicated that several high-level Apple executives, possibly including chief executive Steve Jobs, are planning to make the trip the Big City in order to usher in the new retail store.

Reliable sources have also pegged next week as a time when Apple is most likely to unveil new products, which may include the much anticipated Intel-based MacBook consumer notebooks and changes to the company's iPod line of digital music players.

However, these sources have recently indicated that the new MacBook could see an announcement without much fanfare sometime earlier in the week. It's unclear precisely when the notebooks would actually begin shipping to customers.

Apple began manufacturing the computers at its manufacturing facilities in the Far East about two weeks ago.