Rumors have swirled with speculation over the release date and new features of Apple's iPhone 5, but the facts are beginning to rise to the surface as the company nears a September launch date.

The information is important to consumers worldwide since Apple has sold 108.6 million iPhones since it launched the smartphone device in 2007 and it is important to the company because nearly half of the company's $24.7 billion in revenue from the first quarter of this year was generated by iPhone sales.

Apple delayed the aniticipated launch of the iPhone 5 this summer, further fueling the speculation fire burning over the new product.

Here's the latest and most reliable from industry experts and IBTimes coverage on the iPhone 5 release that rises above rumor:

--The new iPhone will be strikingly similar to the iPhone 4, but it will be thinner and lighter. It will also have an improved eight-megapixel camera.

--The iPhone 5 will operate on Qualcomm wireless chips, like its current version for U.S. wireless carrier Verizon. Other current iPhone models use chips from a company now owned by Intel.

--Key components of the iPhone have been ordered to start production and Apple has placed a manufacturing order for the phone's from a maker in China but further delays are not out of the question. The current target release date is mid to late September, or less than 90 days away.

--Apple's biggest redo of the iPhone will come with its next generation model, one year from now. The iPhone 5 will be a freshened and improved update, similar to what automakers do year to year before radically restyling vehicles. The next version of the iPhone, expected to be released in the company's traditional summer launch schedule in June in coordination with its annual developers conference, will be the radical change speculators have been looking for.