August launch for Apple iPhone 5 – but it's on sale in China now

Apple Inc

Opportunistic sellers in China are already taking pre-orders for the new Apple smartphone

LAST UPDATED AT 15:06 ON Fri 13 Jul 2012

APPLE is set to unveil its next-generation iPhone 5 early next month, but the yet-to-be released phone has already gone on sale in China, where optimistic traders have begun accepting pre-orders for the device, even though no-one knows what it looks like or what features it will have.

The good news for Apple fanboys is that the new iPhone will be out soon. Website Know Your Mobile has declared that "Apple's highly-anticipated and much-rumoured iPhone 5 will be launched via a keynote speech on August 7".

And expectation has reached fever-pitch in the Far East. "Opportunistic sellers on China's largest e-commerce platform, Taobao, are already accepting pre-orders, complete with mock-up pictures and purported technical specifications," reports the Daily Mail.

Some sellers are asking for deposits of £100 while others are demanding full payment of around £700 in advance. The Chinese entrepreneurs are apparently banking on the new phone being released in external markets before they go on sale on the mainland. They intend to smuggle the phones into China from Hong Kong or the US.

Big changes are being predicted for the iPhone 5 after the relative disappointment of the iPhone 4S launch last October. A new 'teardrop' shape has been mooted and a larger 4-inch screen with retina display is expected. Voice recognition software, Siri, will also be beefed up for the new phone.

As usual the internet has been flooded with rumours and purported leaks ahead of the launch and photos of two-tone back covers that suggest that the new phone will be larger than its predecessors have emerged from factories in China.

"The iPhone 5 will also be the debut device for the next version of Apple's iOS operating system, iOS 6, which is expected to introduce a wealth of changes in order to challenge its recently unveiled rivals," says Know Your Mobile. · 

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