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Apple iPhone 5 Release Date: Friday, Sept. 21?

iPhone 5 searches skyrocket in anticipation of expected Apple press event on Wednesday, September 12. A smaller iPad and a refreshed iPod Touch may also be on deck.

Apple iPhone 5 Vs. Samsung Galaxy S III: What We Know
Apple iPhone 5 Vs. Samsung Galaxy S III: What We Know
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Demand for Apple's iPhone, down 12.6% in the second quarter of 2012 when compared to the first quarter (likely due to potential customers waiting for a new model), should surge three weeks into September.

That's when Apple's iPhone 5, or whatever designation Apple ultimately gives to the device, is expected to be available.

Though Apple has not confirmed a specific launch date, an unnamed employee at Verizon--one of the U.S. mobile carriers offering the iPhone--has said that Verizon is having a vacation blackout from Friday, September 21 to September 30, according to TechCrunch.

Verizon's vacation ban is presumably intended to avoid being understaffed when iPhone buyers arrive en masse.

Reports from Apple news site iMore and other media outlets claim that Apple plans to hold a press event on Wednesday, September 12 to introduce the iPhone 5, a smaller iPad, and possibly a refreshed version of the iPod Touch.

[ Is a smaller iPad what people want? Read Apple's iPad Mini: Less Is Less Interesting. ]

Apple's mobile hardware will run on an updated version of its mobile operating system, iOS 6, which has been in developers' hands for several months.

Web metrics firm Experian Hitwise observed that the abundance of iPhone reports is driving search traffic, a trend that appears to validate Apple's refusal to discuss future products. Silence, at least for Apple, is effective advertising. Companies without an existing base of fans may wish to consider a more traditional approach to marketing.

Searches for the term "iPhone 5" are more popular now than they were a year ago, when everyone expected a product called the iPhone 5, according to Hitwise. In early October, 2011, Apple introduced the iPhone 4S, a more modest product revision than the pre-release hype had led people to believe.

"Search variations around 'iPhone 5' have been steadily increasing since the beginning of 2012 and peaked the week of August 18 when searches grew 128% from the previous week as speculation around the next generation iPhone reached a fever pitch," said Hitwise data analyst Lauren Rice in a blog post.

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