FORTUNE -- To readers paying close attention to press reports, there may not be many surprises Tuesday when Apple (AAPL) hosts its big September three-ring circus for analysts and the media.
The critics will be unforgiving if the event's tentpole announcements don't include:
All this and maybe more will be duly reported -- with specs, price points and other details filled in -- Tuesday afternoon.
But by Wednesday, Apple watchers will be wrestling with the darker questions -- questions that have been swirling around the company since even before the stock started tanking in September 2012.
Essentially, the issues that Wall Street has with Apple -- the perceived problems that by April 2013 had lopped $280 billion (40%) off Apple's market value -- boil down to three negative story lines:
Those are valid issues, and they deserve an answer.
But until we see what Tim Cook has up his sleeves -- and whether it delights or disappoints or even works as advertised -- until then we won't know whether the reports of Apple's impending doom that we've been hearing for more than a year are, like Mark Twain's obituary, premature.
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