All last night were widespread reports of users having issues connecting to the Mac App Store and the iTunes App Store. The widely-reported problems left many users unable to purchase or browse for Apps, and it didn't seem confined to one region.
Shortly after problems were reported, developers began receiving emails from Apple, informing them that iTune sconnect will be undergoing scheduled maintenance. Here is the email:
"iTunes Connect will be undergoing scheduled maintenance on Wednesday, July 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PDT.
During this time, iTunes Connect will still be available. However, pricing changes made between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. PDT will cause the app to become unavailable for purchase until maintenance is complete, at which point the app will become available at the new price. To avoid interruptions to the availability of your apps, do not make price changes during this time.
Lastly, customers may not be able to purchase apps in the Mexico, U.K., Australia, Switzerland, Japan or Norway storefronts during the scheduled maintenance.
The App Store team"
Reports say that the maintenance may be related to the downtime. It's not clear, what the downtime is for, but as the Mac OS X Lion release draws near, many can only speculate and figure that it may be part of Apple's preparation for the Lion update. Right now, everyone is guessing that tomorrow, Thursday, July 14, 2011, will be the Lion launch date.