iMore has learned that Apple's next generation iPhone, be it an iterative "iPhone 4S" or a completely revamped "iPhone 5" could go on sale as early as October 7 in the US. That's a Friday, which is typical for iPhone launches. Originally Apple was considering a second week of October launch, more like October 14, but it sounds like they may be ready to go earlier now.
We're still hearing that an "iPhone 4S"-style device, with improved processors and optics, is more likely than an all new design, but given Apple's propensity for multiple prototypes, the many and varied rumors, it's impossible to tell for sure.
iPad 3, which Apple flirted with releasing this fall as well, has been put back on it's traditional Spring schedule. Whether or not the component costs and yield rates of the rumored 2048x1536 Retina Display simply aren't where Apple needs them to be yet are unknown.
Still, Apple can and will change their plans up to event day, so take all of this with a Cupertino-sized grain of salt. (And feel free to attribute any combination of "people" "sources" "familiar with" "knowledge of" and "little birdies" makes you happy.)
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.