Your final pre-release Apple iPhone 5 release claims

Apple [AAPL] has shut down online Apple Stores internationally as it prepares to reveal what’s new from Cupertino, likely including the iPhone 5 and its accompanying products, the iPod touch and iPod nano. We’ll be offering an as it happens window into the company’s announcements here, meanwhile here’s this morning’s latest rumors and industry expectations to keep you going until the launch.


[ABOVE: On your marks, get set...]

Apple takes center stage

All eyes are on San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, where the company will once again take the stage to reveal its news. And while speculation isn’t focused on Authentec and we’ve had no iTunes news for what feels like days, though that doesn’t mean there won’t be any.

Analysts are already super-excited at the launch: Some predict over a million pre-orders in the first 24-hours; the Wall Street Journal thinks the device could boost the gross national domestic product of the US by up to an astonishing five percent and J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskwitz thinks the company will set the bar for LTE smartphones...

How? By delivering a 4G device with the best battery life in the industry that doesn’t take up too much pocket space or weight and still offers a large-screen. That’s led Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty to anticipate between 48-53 million iPhone sales in Q4 and 266 million in 2013. (Assuming it can source components, of course...).

Will this be a true 4G device? This seems likely. The iPhone 5 will support the standard in international markets with UK newspaper The Guardian confirming LTE/4G support and that the device will be available on the UK’s only existing 4G network, Everything Everywhere.

The report claims iPhone 5 testing by Huawei, Nokia Siemens Networks, and Ericsson has been taking place, “for some weeks both in labs and in public places.” If this is true and in line with Apple’s previous form, this means you can probably expect an FCC filing confirming this to appear within the next 24-hours.

This morning we also learn (or at least, see it confirmed) that mobile carriers have been stockpiling the Apple-championed new Nano-SIM cards for the launch. Vodafone has confirmed it will be stocking half a million of these things in preparation for the release.

The tiny new card only measures 12.3mm x 8.8mm and according to Vodafone, is "so slim and tiny you might only be able to handle them with tweezers",” the report explains.

New Dock connector

From the Mac rumor makers we learn that the new 9-pin Dock connector (dubbed “Lightning”, apparently) is a certainty and will cost a lot more, prompting me to ask Apple, once again, to stop gouging customers with the cost of its interconnects.

Also today the soon-to-be-introduced iPod touch is expected to boast built-in GPS (all the better for tracking location data), to be made available in new colours and to be usable as a game controller in conjunction with your Mac, an iPad -- or (should the handsome chimera ever make it into reality) your Apple television, or Apple TV, anyone?

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also made a bunch of iPod touch predictions, talking up camera improvements, GPS, a 4-inch display and thinner body (this thing will be extremely light) and the new A5 processor, as opposed to the A6 processor we’ll see make its blushing first appearance inside the iPhone.

The final flourish in this morning’s pre-launch hubbub comes from China, where an undercover reporter got a job on the iPhone 5 production line to talk about working conditions. 

Translated by MIC Gadget, the report looks at conditions in a factory responsible for making 85 percent of all the new smartphones, a place of work for “tens of thousands” tasked with building the things. The report looks at how workers are trained, the vetting procedures and the, ahem, rigorous management style. Take a look.

Finally, it’s never too early to start an iPhone 6 rumor. Get ready for other future smartphone releases from Apple and read this report: “Inside the iPhone Patent Portfolio.” 

Drop by later to find out more about the new device.

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