Updated 4:43 p.m. ET
Circle Sept. 12 on your calendar, Apple fanboys and fangirls. Because rumor is that the next generation iPhone will be announced on that day — along with an "iPad Mini."
This little morsel of gossip comes to us via iMore's Rene Ritchie, who says he heard about it "from sources who have proven accurate in the past." While this sort of cagey sourcing is typically easy to dismiss, it is worth noting that Ritchie nailed the announcement date for the third-generation iPad a month ahead of time — thanks to similarly mysterious sources. (Perhaps even the same ones?)
Ritchie writes that while both the next-generation iPhone as well as a long-rumored "iPad Mini" will be announced on Sept. 12, only the iPhone will start shipping nine days later, on Sept. 21. There's no word on an expected release date for the other device, though presumably it would be soon after, if not at the same time.
The dates suggested in Ritchie's report do line up with what we've been hearing for a while — that the next-generation iPhone will hit shelves in the fall and that the smaller iPad should be available in time for the holidays.
What else do we know about this next bunch of Apple gadgets?
Well, we suspect that the next-generation iPhone will be pretty darn similar to the iPhone 4S, but with a slightly thinner and larger screen and 4G LTE connectivity (like on the newest iPad). It will likely use a smaller 19-pin port rather than the wider 30-in port found on current iPhones, iPads and iPods. (Say goodbye to your old chargers — or hello to some awkward adapter — if that turns out to be the case.)
Judging by photos at 9to5 Mac — showing what is supposedly the equivalent of a fully-assembled next-generation iPhone — those guesses might be right on the money.
As far as the "iPad Mini" goes, we don't know too much. Based on the most reliable reports, it should be close to eight inches diagonally, offer a plain (non-Retina) display, and be priced in the $250 range (to compete with Google's Nexus 7).
We've reached out to the folks at Apple and asked them if they're feeling crazy enough to confirm the rumored announcement date or chit-chat about their upcoming products. Since it's their policy not to address such things, we'll just continue daydreaming about shiny gadgets of the future.
Update: All Things D's John Paczkowski — who has an incredible track record when it comes to nailing the dates of Apple events — writes that his own sources have confirmed that Apple will be holding an event during the week of Sept. 12. "[W]hile we haven’t yet confirmed [the event's] focus, history suggests it will indeed be the new iPhone," he clarifies.
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