iPhone 5 release date rumors and speculation over specs are rampant these days, and there is a palpable rumor fatigue in the market.

A few weeks ago, the rumor about Sprint planning to introduce next generation Apple iPhone was received seriously and the carrier's stock rose more than 10 percent. Sprint shares, which had received heavy pummeling of late, rose after the Wall Street Journal reported that the carrier would begin selling the iPhone 5 in mid-October.

The Journal said according to people familiar with the matter, the new iPhone would be similar to the iPhone 4, but thinner and lighter with an improved digital camera and a new more sophisticated operating system.

Reports show that a Sprint subcontractor was installing network repeaters in Apple Stores in an effort to improve the Sprint iPhone sales experience. And with Best Buy reports showing pre-orders starting in the first week of October and a release date of Oct. 21, it's slowly beconing clear when the iPhone 5 will be launched. While some say Steve Jobs' exit would delay iPhone 5's entry by a couple of months, others ooze confidence that Apple's flagship device will sail forth soon.

With reports about Apple production beginning with two Chinese OEM manufacturers to wait for it to be packed as iOS 5 finishes beta stages, the iPhone 5 is getting serious attention from all corners. Even the latest news of iPhone 5 prototype took the center-stage of publicity stunt.
Reports of the loss of an iPhone prototype, the second instance in a year and a half, has created suspicion that the entire event could be a publicity stunt by Apple to market the device. It looks very similar to what happened to iPhone 4 last year - an iPhone 4 prototype went missing in a bar just before its release. Although it looks like Apple is grieved, it may be a smart marketing move.

Now the latest rumor surrounding iPhone 5 has picked up momentum with the new cam photo shot expectedly taken from iPhone 5. The image was stumbled upon by Pocketnow via Flickr. Although the description suggests it's the product of an iPhone 4, the EXIF data says different thing. The image has been cropped to 2235 x 2291, or 5.12-megapixels from the original 3264×2448 or about 8-megapixel. Some reports suggest that this image was taken from the lost iPhone 5 prototype.

However, another report suggests that the photo was also likely taken at Apple HQ. Its GPS data pinpoints the photo's origin to 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California - which, as every geek knows, happens to be the address of Apple headquarters.

Meanwhile, Apple has taken steps to ensure it keeps its devices safe. The world's largest consumer electronics company posted jobs on its website, looking for a person responsible for managing the risk associated with Apple's unreleased products. The new manager will also ensure intellectual property will be kept in safe hands as well. This move will most probably ensure, there will be no more lose of a product if the marketing gimmick turns out be false.

Rumors suggest that the upcoming iPhone 5 has features like a teardrop design that is supposed to be slimmer and lighter than past iPhone models, an edge-to-edge 4-inch retina display, an aluminum plate casing, Apple A5 processor, 8-megapixel camera, HSPA+ technology for 4G support in AT&T, iOS 5 operating system with 200 plus features, world phone with SIM-less design and possible NFC support.

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iPhone 5 Leaked Cam Shoot/ Credit: Slashgear