Best Buy employees have been informed that preorders for the iPhone 5 will begin this week in time for a release date the first week of October. Sprint will carry the phone for the first time when it launches, a leaked report to states.

Apple is yet to announce a press event, but the retail chain distributed the news in a memo to team leaders.

That Sprint will be joining the iPhone family is a move that's been widely expected, and there were recent reports that a Sprint subcontractor was installing network repeaters in Apple Stores in an effort to improve the Sprint iPhone sales experience, according to Beatweek Magazine.

Verizon signed on with the iPhone around March this year. Sprint was the largest remaining U.S. carrier to not have the much sough after smartphone.

There have also been reports that the iPhone 5 is going into production overseas this week. If that is so, this could go right in line with the Best Buy early October release date.

Apple failed to launch the iPhone 5 this summer and is therefore, under pressure to get the iPhone 5 into the market in time for the holiday shopping season.

Best Buy did note, however, that Apple product introduction and launch dates are subject to change, BGR reported.

Here are the rumored features of Apple iPhone 5:

- A5 processor in the range of 1.2-1.5 GHz

- Aluminum metal backing of the original iPhone instead of the current glass surface back piece

- A teardrop design, like the new iPod Touch, with the top being thick and then tapering to a skinnier bottom

- An improved antenna

- More RAM, possibly 1GB

- Better camera (perhaps 8-megapixel) with 1080p video playback and panaromic photo capture capability and an improved dual-LED flash unit

- Bigger edge-to-edge 3.7- to 4-inch curved glass screen (iPhone 4 has 3.5-inch screen)

- A SIM-less design

- 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

- Wireless charging capability

- Better talk-time and standby time

- Near Field Communication (NFC) technology

- Panoramic photo capabilities and 1080p Full HD videos

- Stronger gaming capabilities supported by multi-core A5 processor and Imagination Technologies' PowerVR Series6 mobile graphics processing architecture.