According to a report published today on Boy Genius Report, Apple’s major US carrier partner AT&T is getting its staff prepped for the release of the next iPhone handset, expected sometime in mid-September. The report cites a ‘proven source’ that claims that AT&T’s retail arm has been communicating with its legions of employees, telling them to “finish training in order to have employees available for the influx of foot traffic expected in September.”

While this report is simply another rumor, there’s little doubt in anyone’s mind at this point that September will bring some sort of new or updated iPhone handset; it’s even possible that Apple will completely revamp its lineup and launch more than one new iPhone. The BGR report claims that Apple will announce the next iPhone sometime in late August, and then handset will then go on sale in early September. The site has a decent track record in regards to Apple and iPhone related rumors, and has numerous contacts deep in the wireless industry.

The BGR report coincides with the release of further speculation on the launch date from MacRumors, which recently stated that Apple has started contacting some of its former retail employees to see if they will return to work part-time between mid-August and mid-September. Since this timeframe also happens to be the lucrative ‘back to school’ retail extravaganza, it’s possible that Apple just wants its stores fully staffed to avoid any sales or service issues. However, it’s also possible that this is in preparation for the flood of customers expected with the launch of the next iPhone.

Most sources to date have placed the highly-anticipated iPhone 5 launch as occurring sometime this fall, ushered in with the launch of iOS 5, the newest version of the operating system powering the iPhone and iPad. Apple further hinted at this on their 2nd quarter earnings call last week, with CFO Peter Oppenheimer stating that Apple will have a “future product transition” that will “have a material impact on the September quarter”.

At this point, it appears to be all-systems-go for the next iPhone to hit shortly. Recent reports have claimed that Apple’s supply chain and manufacturing partners have all been preparing for production of the next iPhone, and while today’s report claims a mid-September launch window, rumors have speculated that the iPhone 5 could launch anytime from the end of August through the end of October. Regardless of when it comes, there’s little doubt that the handset will be a huge blockbuster for Apple.

Some reports have claimed that the next-generation iPhone will be both lighter in weight and sport a thinner profile than the iPhone 4, and perhaps will feature an upgraded rear camera, and possibly a larger display. The Wall Street Journal claims that the iPhone will contain new wireless chipsets manufactured by Qualcomm, which may make a single iPhone 5 handset compatible with GSM and CDMA networks around the world.

As for Apple, the company didn’t comment on the latest report, and has kept mum in regards to the next iPhone handset. Those in Cupertino did state that the company plans on manufacturing upwards of 25 million handsets through the end of 2011; to get this many out the door, the handset will need to launch within the next couple of months. For now, it’s simply a game of ‘wait and see’.


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