It may be a case of putting the cart before the horse, but Boy Genius Report suggests that some of the retail rumblings coincident with the Apple Stores' 10th anniversary (coming this week) may have to do with the stores being equipped to take payments via Near Field Communications (NFC) setups. Presumably the existing EasyPay system could be swapped out for NFC-enabled iPod touch handhelds with a handy-dandy sled, giving Apple a solid test platform for future NFC hardware in other devices.
The rumor mill has been grinding at both ends on the likelihood of NFC in future iPhones, with arguments pro and con registering points. While major players like Visa have already committed to testing NFC hardware in specialized cases for the iPhone and other devices, it's not clear that Apple is ready to put its payment eggs in the iOS device basket. If, however, BGR is right and the stores are getting an NFC facelift to support payments, that would be a major tell about the future of the technology in Apple's product line.
Update: Jim Dalrymple throws cold water on the notion of any product launch aligned with the retail anniversary: too close to WWDC, for one thing, and not in Apple's style to commemorate the past.