If you’ve been keeping track of all iPhone news over the course of the last few weeks, you probably know that the rumor mill has been on fire over the release of a next-generation iPhone. Now, it seems that Apple is close to figuring out a release date, as well as a possible date when the iPhone will allegedly be available for pre-ordering.

According to reports, the iPhone 5 will be released either on October 7th or on the 14th and will be available for pre-ordering either on September 29th or the 30th. Why are we so unsure? Because Apple is allegedly still in the process of making up its mind, which in the end will boil down to marketing figures and whether the inventory levels at the earliest date are acceptable. It’s unclear whether these dates are referent to the international release or the US one, since the next iPhone has previously been rumored to launch in the United States in September and arrive in shelves in the rest of the world in October. Judging by recent inventory figures which suggest that manufacturing of the next iPhone has long been ramped up, we expect the device to be available sooner rather than later

As expected, Apple hasn’t and likely won’t comment on these reports, since the device itself hasn’t been announced yet. Such an announcement will likely take place in the first half of September, if reports are right, although one would expect pre-orders to begin immediately after the announcement, suggesting that the next iPhone could perhaps not be introduced at Apple’s traditional music event or that said event might be moved up a few weeks to accommodate the iPhone announcement.

Just one iPhone? That’s another burning question in the mind of many Apple enthusiasts: according to past reports, the Cupertino company could be developing a lower-end iPhone aimed at developing markets and lower-end customers. This new iPhone would be similar to the current iPhone, the 1-year-old iPhone 4, possible with slightly modified casing and modestly upgraded hardware specifications, such as higher end front and back cameras. The high-end model, commonly known as the iPhone 5, will allegedly have a thinner form factor and updated internals, although not much is known about the device as of yet.

(via 9to5Mac)

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