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According to an employee at China Mobile, China’s state-owned mobile carrier, the long-awaited next-generation iPhone will hit shelves in September. This is yet another report in a long chain of rumors of a next-generation iPhone, which have intensified over the last few days.

iPhone

According to a Chinese website, the employee posted a message alluding to a new iPhone on a Chinese micro-blogging site, although the employee’s post has since been deleted (no surprise there, right?). China Mobile already offers the iPhone 4 to Chinese customers and there’s no indication that partnership might ever stop.

In addition, it’s being reported that Apple COO Tim Cook, Steve Jobs’ right-hand man who’s replacing him during his sick leave, has been having closed-door meetings with executives at China Telecom. Reportedly, one of their latest meetings took place on June 22nd and its purpose was to discuss the next iPhone. As expected, China Telecom chairman Li Yue Wang has refused to comment on any future iPhone release but has shown his deep interest in working with Apple anytime the company wishes (the text below is translated using automated software):

I have great respect for Steve Jobs, I met with him last year, I told him many times to open the conference call, and I saw him, I feel he technology, there are many good ideas for the future, and his ideas are able to achieve that, so I think Steve Jobs Ye Hao, Apple Ye Hao, indeed our IT telecom industry has made a great contribution.

Rumors of a future iPhone have been going on non-stop for the last few months and have intensified for the last few days. It’s expected that the next iPhone will include a dual-A5 processor, an 8-megapixel camera and several other hardware boosts. The casing itself, however, is expected to stay the same, despite dismissed reports that have stated otherwise. The September time frame disclosed by this China Mobile employee is consistent with previous reports as well.

Owned by the Chinese government, China Telecom is the largest carrier worldwide with over 500 million users. Out of those, around 10%, or over 5 million, are iPhone users. Such a large carrier definitely isn’t being ignored by Apple, as made clear by the amount of secret meetings that have taken place.

Meanwhile, it should be pretty clear by now that Apple is releasing a new iPhone really soon. If you’re planning to buy one, I would hold off until September.

(via BGR, BiaNews (Chinese))

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