July 14, 2011 at 4:58 PM ET
A UK-based recruiting company that specializes in "brand ambassadors" and "mystery shoppers" has posted a listing for temporary iPhone sales staff that would begin work Aug. 16, leading some industry watchers to look at that as the new go-to date for the next release of Apple's popular smartphone.
Every breadcrumb that leads to that magic date has been combed over as thoroughly as by a CSI tech, and job listings are as fertile ground as any to suss out. (For instance, our own Winda Benedetti referenced one in a story about the next-gen Xbox and/or Kinect.)
This one appeared on UK job site Reed.co.uk under the heading, "Apple Iphone Sales Specialist." (See our screen grab of the ad to the right. Click on it to enlarge.) CNET UK spotted the listing, which led back to Gekko Ltd, the field marketing agency (which is industry speak for recruiter) that gave this explanation for its needs (love how they have to describe Apple, so folks won't be confused it's that other Apple):
Our client, Apple, one of the largest consumer electronic hardware and software companies in the world are seeking full-time iPhone Sales Staff for an exciting project to work 5 days a week (Tuesday-Saturday) for the period 16th August - 29th October within key retail stores.
If hired, the temps would receive four days of training in London. (No doubt part of that would include how to handle the eager masses, especially those that don't get the next iPhone.)
Gekko's relationship with Apple has been mutually lucrative, if this blurb from Gekko's awards section is any indication:
The Field Marketing Awards 2008 Most Innovative Campaign Silver: Gekko & Apple
Together with Apple, Gekko created a Store in Store concept in 2006 and, adjusting for greater commercial payback, rolled this out in 2007 pan Europe, adding 16 further permanent locations in the UK to be staffed by Gekko. A Terminal 5 launch has also now taken place.
The SIS concept has brought the Apple Store experience into 3rd party retailers. Included in this experience have been apple product workshops. The sales performance / responsibility has been removed from the retailers and given instead to Gekko.
Results have included nearly £2 million in hardware sales alone.
Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! This must mean that new iPhones are on the way, does it not? Well, it certainly looks that way. We've also heard rumblings that point to a release in September, the emergence of not one but two phones, and now this.
Boy Genius Report also had pegged August as a release possibility, so this latest tidbit adds fuel to that particular fire: "According to our source, Apple may hold an event in the beginning or middle of August to announce the new iPhone, with availability to follow in the last week of August."
But as we know with all things Apple, anything can happen.