A source at AT&T has confirmed that Apple will launch its newest iPhone during "the third or fourth week of September, with an all-hands-on-deck policy in place" through mid-October, according to the Boy Genius Report. The timeline is in sync with July 31 reports from Reuters, iMore.com and others that have pinned Sept. 12 for Apple's announcement and Sept. 21 as the day the device will go on sale.
BGR additionally cited a second source as saying that a large AT&T employee event, originally scheduled for the first week of October, had been rescheduled due to a conflict with a "huge announcement."
Short of confirmation from Apple, the world hardly needs more evidence that a new iPhone is coming.
According to an Aug. 9 research note from Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White, Apple component suppliers had a banner July, with revenue from sales to Apple up 14 percent between June and July. Such revenue was markedly higher than the supplier's average June-to-July increase, said the note.
"We believe this strength reflects the Apple supply chain ramping up production of new products for Apple that are expected to launch this September," White wrote.
Furthering the rumors, Apple recently authorized its retail stores to match discounts being offered on iPhones by other official outlets and carriers, such as Sprint, Target and Best Buy, The Wall Street Journal reported Aug. 9.
These discounts are not yet being advertised, however, and are offered only to consumers with the knowledge or gumption to speak up about them.
"The company has begun telling retail employees that they may offer discounts of $49 on the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4 to customers who cite lower prices from other outlets," the Journal reported.
On Aug. 6, Sprint began offering its 16GB iPhone 4S for $150 and the 64GB model for $350-each $50 lower than the standard industry pricing. In addition to potentially helping Sprint sell a few more phones-and gain a few new subscribers-the announcement fanned well-fueled flames.
Apple executives, during the company's earnings call July 21, said the anticipation of the next iPhone, which seems to start earlier each year, hurt device sales during Apple's fiscal second quarter.
"Our weekly iPhone sales continue to be impacted by rumors and speculation regarding new products," Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer told analysts during the earnings call.
While some analysts said that Samsung and its Galaxy line may have also played a part, eBay offered evidence that seems to back up Oppenheimer's remarks, telling Computerworld that the number of used smartphones being sold on eBay increased by 70 percent between July 30 and Aug. 1, compared with the same three-day span of the week before. July 30 was the day the Sept. 12 date was first reported.
While pricing of the iPhone 4S has become a bellwether, it also shouldn't be ignored for what it is: a discount on a solid phone.
Roger Kay, principal analyst with Endpoint Technologies, told eWEEK, "The 4S is still a fine machine, and when the 5 comes out, prices on the 4S will drop, making it a good buy."
For the record, Kay is a 4S user. While his wife is waiting for the iPhone 5, he added, "The 4S works fine, and I'm in no hurry to upgrade."