Apple's stock price shot up last night as investors lapped up shares in expectation of new iPods and a potential movie download service from the company.

After weeks of speculation, Apple last night finally confirmed plans to hold a special event on 12 September. The event is timed to take place on the first day of Apple Expo, Paris, but the event itself is occurring in California, with a satellite broadcast of news from America to be given to an international gathering of journalists in the UK.

The event invite announces, simply: "It's Showtime".

Strong rumours that Apple will launch a movie rental download service, at least in the US, have been circulating for some time. It's a natural extension for a company that has become synonymous with digital media.

Apple has sold more than 35 million music and TV show videos through iTunes since launching the video download service last year.

An iPod upgrade is also essential to the company as the key Christmas shopping period approaches. The range has seen no significant upgrade since last year.

Speculation favours a video iPod with a larger screen and a re-vamped iPod nano (available in multiple colours) with a much higher capacity.

American Technology Research analyst, Shaw Wu, believes Apple will also release an iPod mobile phone device, but not until 2007.

Apple shares rose $3.10, or 4.5 percent, reaching $71.48 on yesterday's market.