The rumor surrounding the launch date of Apple's next generation iPhone - dubbed iPhone 5 - has generated unprecedented excitement because the new iPhone is expected to boast of features that will put iPhone 4 to shame.

According to (unverified) media reports circulating in the Internet, iPhone 5 is set for release on September 7. The tech sites, which reported this launch date, could not give any reason why Apple has (or should have) chosen this day.

ZDNet.com's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes has also gone on record to joke about the launch date prediction and even suggested kicking off an iPhone 5 launch day prediction pool and offered his own prediction - September 15.

Adrian had his laugh at the expense of other tech sites, but if we think a bit deeply about it, there's actually a very good reason, in fact several good reasons, why Apple may delay the launch of iPhone 5 until September at least.

According to Brian White, an analyst for Ticonderoga Securities, Apple would probably put off iPhone 5 launch for September, when the company begins its new financial year, rather than launch it within months of the launch of the white iPhone 4, which is doing extremely well.

The September launch will also help Apple tide over problems related to supply delay, the analyst said.

Agrees Chris Caso at Susquehanna Financial. Our checks at multiple levels of the supply chain point to a one-to-two-month delay in the production start for the next-generation iPhone vs. our earlier view of a July production start, Caso wrote in a note to clients.

However, it is also possible that the launch of the new iPhone 5 could be delayed as until October or November i.e. during the Fall.

The reason is because Apple has promised to release the much-awaited iOS 5, which comes bundled with iCloud, during Fall. And releasing the new iPhone 5 without loading it with the iOS 5 would be a disastrous move as the new mobile OS is Apple's best bet againt iPhone's rivals.

As for the iPhone, almost everyone is now certain that the new iPhone will not be a full update of the existing model. Market watchers claim the new iPhone will only incorporate minor hardware updates like a better processor and an improved camera and the design and form factors of the device will remain the same too. It is expected that a real updated version of the iPhone will come only in 2012. Hence, it is not surprising to see Apple throw so much weight behind software and service advancements like iOS and iCloud at Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2011 as they are iPhone's only hope against its rivals, for the moment at least.

However, many Apple fans are holding onto the hope that the next generation iPhone will boast of features that will make Android smartphones hide their faces in shame. According to Internet rumors, iPhone 5 will be a smartphone on steroids compared to iPhone 4 as it will come with 8 MP camera, A5 processor, a 4-inch display, 1080p output, curved glass screen, a SIM-less design, 3-4 internal antennas for both GSM and CDMA networks and 4G connectivity.

To find out whether that's true or not, we'll have to wait till the iPhone actually launches.

What do you think? Will iPhone launch in September or sooner or perhaps later? Leave your comments below.