The iPhone 5 may well be on its way to our shelves in the next month, if rumours of Apple Store staff training and reports of Best Buy preparing Apple installations are to be believed.
A tipster writing to CNET UK, wanting to remain anonymous, claimed his local unnamed "mobile phone store" (he didn't want to get them in trouble with Apple) knew rather a lot about the iPhone 5 "from a staff training event", even going so far as claiming it had a 4-inch screen and a dual-core 1.5GHz processor.
"They also said an announcement will be made in the next week to two weeks, and they won't start stocking it until very late 2011 or early 2012," reports our smart phone Deep Throat.
We think it's possible that the employee our tipster spoke to was simply discussing his own take on the current slew of iPhone 5 rumours, rather than speaking from internal knowledge, so we're taking his info with a fairly large serving of salt.
Meanwhile, Apple Store employees have apparently begun their training in iOS 5 and iCloud via Apple's in-store training software, 9to5mac reports. iOS 5 -- the next major update to Apple's mobile operating system -- is due to launch on the iPhone 5, as is cloud back-up and streaming service iCloud.
Typically, Apple retail staff undergo their training with these new products around two weeks prior to launch. If staff have indeed begun their training now, this would indicate that an announcement of the iPhone could be happening towards the end of September.
We spoke to an Apple 'Genius' in London, however, who denied any knowledge of an upcoming launch or of training currently taking place -- but then, they would, wouldn't they?
Furthermore, anonymous tipsters told ThisIsMyNext that electronics retailer Best Buy is preparing in-store installations for Apple products to be displayed on 21 October, which could indicate an early to mid-October announcement of the new phone. The source also noted that during the installation, the store manager was to be present from a much earlier time -- an uncommon practice by Best Buy and notably used before at the iPhone 4 launch.
The details on Best Buy's in-store inventory regarding the installation were reportedly rather vague, stating only that it is an "Apple display". Of course, we wouldn't expect details to be present as it would immediately tip off thousands of employees as to the expected launch of the phone. The timing does seem to line up nicely though.
What do you think of this new batch of rumours? Will you be saving your pennies for the latest Apple phone or are you more likely to go for one of HTC's new Windows Phone Mango devices like the HTC Titan? Let us know in the comments section below or over on our official Facebook page.