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New sources have confirmed that Apple will announce the iPhone 5 on September 12th, with a release date coming just nine days later on the 21st of the same month.

It would appear that the assumption that Apple would release the next iPhone in October may have been a little off, with the news that the unannounced handset is all-but confirmed to arrive on September 21st.

News coming from various sources and web sites suggests that Apple is planning an event for September 12th, with the iPhone widely believed to be the product we will be treated to, a full month earlier than most of us had expected.

With iMore initially claiming that their sources had pointed them towards a September 12th announcement date, with TheLoop and AllThingsD now also joining in with the speculation, apparently confirming the dates.

The next iPhone had previously been expected to put in an appearance this October, with a release coming shortly after an announcement by Apple’s big wigs. The news that the event and subsequent hardware release will come a month earlier, in September, is interesting while not too surprising. Rumors of hardware being in production right now could suggest that the release is not too far off, and in fact it appears we may be less than two months away from knowing what the next generation iPhone will consist of, and importantly, what it looks like.

The iPhone 4S has proven hugely popular since its introduction late last year, and the indications are that the next generation device will be no different, despite strong competition from the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy S III. Apple will be hoping that existing iPhone 4 owners will upgrade to the new handset now that their two year plans have expired, while iPhone 4S owners are only twelve months into their deals at best. That may not stop some of them from picking up new hardware off contract however, assuming Apple makes such handsets available internationally.

We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for more iPhone news over the coming weeks, culminating in the announcement in September. Let’s hope we are not all disappointed by the announcements this time and we’ll see something genuinely new coming out of Cupertino!

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