The much-awaited next generation iPhone (dubbed iPhone 5) from Apple will debut on September 5, followed by a global release a month later, according to a senior Swisscom executive.

According to iPhone Italia, a senior executive of Switzerland carrier Swisscom, on conditions of anonymity, said the new iPhone would launch on September 5, followed by a global release on October 5.

Swisscom is Apple's partner in Switzerland, together with carriers Orange and Sunrise.

Incidentally, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, in a conference call with analysts today (following the announcement of the latest quarterly results) also said that the new iPhone would be released sometime in the Fall.

Though we are tempted to take the Swisscom executive's statement with a grain of salt, McAdam's statement can be taken more seriously because Verizon has already started clearing out their iPhone 4 accessory inventory, indicating iPhone 5's imminent launch this Fall.

PhoneArena reports the same thing, citing a trusted (anonymous) source that claims that the price of iPhone 4 will drop when the new iPhone hits the market.

Bloomberg also reports that iPhone 5 could hit the Chinese market as early as the third quarter of the year.

According to the report, China Telecom Corp. and China Unicom, and not China Mobile, will be selling the new iPhone.

The latest rumors only strengthen the belief that iPhone 4, which has enjoyed an indomitable run since its release in JUne 2010, will soon be making way for its successor iPhone 5.

And, it's not surprising to hear the buzz around iPhone 5 get louder because it represents a massive leap in terms of software and hardware advancements compared to iPhone 4.

Even as iPhone continues to be the gold standard for the smartphone industry, according to market rumors, iPhone 5 will boast of radical new design that will incorporate Aluminum metal backing of the original iPhone instead of the current glass surface back piece. The new iPhone is also expected to come in a SIM-less design (to give it world phone capability) and sport a teardrop design, like the new iPod Touch, with the top being thick and then tapering to a skinnier bottom.

Other expected iPhone 5 features are:

> A5 processor in the range of 1.2-1.5 GHz
 > An improved antenna (no more Antennagate, yay!)
 > More RAM, possibly 1GB
 > Bigger-edge-to-edge 3.7- to 4-inch curved glass screen (iPhone 4 has 3.5-inch screen)
 > 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash
 > Panoramic photo capture and 1080p Full HD video capture capabilities
 > 3-4 internal antennas for both GSM and CDMA networks
 > 4G connectivity
 > iOS 5, which will be true multitask capable and come with loads of new features such as News Stand, Reminders, Delta Updates and iMessage
 > Improved speech recognition features, and
 > 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

It was earlier rumored that the new iPhone will also support Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to keep pace with Android rivals like Samsung Galaxy S II and Google Nexus 4G, but Device Magazine claims iPhone 5 may give NFC a miss and opt to support Bluetooth 4.0 instead, just like the new MacBook Air and Mac Mini have done.

For the uninitiated, Bluetooth 4.0 comes with higher range (maybe up to 200 meters) and spends less power.