Very quietly, Apple ( AAPL) has invited some of its favorite journalists to a secret (or not so secret now) meeting at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters next Tuesday to get a "sneak peek" of the next version of the iPhone operating system, being dubbed OS 3.0.

Timing is interesting. It's a little more than a year since Apple disclosed some of the new features of the then about-to-be-released iPhone 3G, OS 2.0 software developers kit. It also comes at a time when there are rumors flying that Apple is working on some sort of a touch-screen Netbook computer, which might run on an expanded version of this new 3.0 operating system.

The invitations didn't really say who would be making this announcement. It could be Apple's marketing Chief Phil Schiller. Or it could be iPhone's software guy Scott Forstall. Then again, even though he's out on sick leave, we could even see a guest appearance from Commander-in-Chief Steve Jobs.

For the record, Apple sold more than 11 million iPhone 2's in the second half of 2008. Back in January, Apple disclosed that more than 500 million applications had been downloaded from its app store out of a possible 15,000 apps that were available at that time.
Gary Krakow is's senior technology correspondent.