The buzz on the release date of Apple iPhone 5 has reached a fever pitch and the latest scoop is that the smartphone will be released on Oct. 7 with pre-orders likely to begin from Sept. 29 or 30. And we are loving it.

If tech blog 9to5Mac is to be believed, iPhone 5 (Apple's next generation iPhone) will be hitting the stores on Oct. 7 with pre-orders opening around Sept. 29 or 30. The 30th seems more likely at this point according to one of our sources, 9to5Mac said.

Citing unnamed sources, the blog said Apple will release iPhone 5 either on Oct. 7 or Oct. 14 but the company is leaning towards the early release date as pre-mass-production is currently moving along nicely.

9to5Mac's report means Apple could unveil iPhone 5 during its annual iPod refresh event in September.

The buzz over the release date of iPhone 5 has reached a fever pitch and it is not surprising because in a recent PriceGrabber survey, 35 percent of respondents said they would buy the iPhone 5 even without having seen it even as 51 percent said they planned to buy the smartphone within 12 months of its release, reflecting the high confidence American consumers have in Apple's next generation smartphone and the popularity it enjoys.

However, iPhone 5 has become popular not only because it's an Apple product but also because it represents a massive leap in terms of software and hardware advancements compared to iPhone 4.

iPhone 5 is expected to feature a radical new design and is likely to be powered by Apple's dual-core A5 processor (the same type that powers iPad 2).

An 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash and panorama photography and full 1080p HD video capture capabilities, a powerful voice-based navigation system, a thinner form factor, an edge-to-edge 4-inch display, an iPod-like curved glass display and a curved/tapered aluminum back are also expected to define the new smartphone.

iPhone 5 is also expected to feature a SIM-less design with 3-4 internal antennas for both GSM and CDMA networks. Probably it means that the new iPhone will be a world phone. There is also talk that Apple could be including a special SIM card slot in iPhone 5 for users to insert a SIM card when traveling outside the US.

Apple's recent patent filing lends support to the expectation that iPhone 5 will be a world phone. In one patent configuration, Apple has decoupled the subscriber identifier values from the operational parameters specific to a wireless service provider. That implies that the user can use the same device at places with different carriers. For example, the user can subscribe to a primary carrier at home and to a secondary service provider while traveling abroad.

The physical home button is also expected to be replaced by a touch-sensitive ovaloid area which takes up the middle half of the bottom border.

9to5Mac, Cult of Mac, CNet UK and MacRumors echo the same sentiment.

Photos posted by MICGadget, which purportedly are of a production center of iPhone touchscreen in China, also suggest that iphone 5 will come with a touch-sensitive ovaloid area that will replace the home button.

Other new features expected to appear on iPhone 5 are:

> More RAM, possibly 1GB
> 4G LTE compatibility
> Improved speech recognition features
> Wireless charging capability
> Improved battery life
> More powerful gaming capabilities supported by multi-core A5 processor and Imagination Technologies' PowerVR Series6 mobile graphics processing architecture

Most importantly, iPhone 5 is expected to come pre-installed with the new iOS 5 mobile operating system.

iOS 5, which was unveiled during Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, boasts of true multitask capabilities and comes with loads of new features such as News Stand, Reminders, Delta Updates and iMessage, Apple's very own messenger service.

Meanwhile, rumors are also making rounds on the Web that Apple will also release a budget-friendly iPhone, dubbed iPhone 4S, which will be have less features than iPhone 5 but will lower the entry barrier for iPhone users.

Earlier, Vietnamese website Tinhte.vn had uploaded photos of a device that it claims is of iPhone 4S, the rumored lower-cost model of the iPhone 4 that reportedly will be launched together with iPhone 5 in September. Tinhte is the same blog that that got ahold of the iPhone 4 ahead of its official launch.

While TiPB claims Apple will be releasing either iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 in October, CNET tells us that Apple will likely release iPhone 5 in October.

MacPost, which has published images of what purportedly are replacement parts of the new iPhone, also strengthens the belief that iPhone 5/iPhone 4S will be releasing anytime soon.

Reports that Telephonica plans to scale back its current stock of iPhone 4 from Aug. 22 through Sept. 12 to prepare them for the launch of a new smart phone and AT&T is prepping its staff point to an early October release date.

Apple's steadfast silence on the issue only helps fuel the rumors and we're certain Steve Jobs is enjoying the attention the next generation iPhone is getting right now. However, the press event that will (supposedly) be held on Sept. 7 could help lift the cloud.