AT&T reportedly readying staff for iPhone 5 September debut

AT&T is reportedly readying staff for a fifth-gen iPhone launch by the middle of September, according to the latest rumors, with management at the carrier warning retail store managers to be ready for a high influx of foot traffic. The message at management levels inside AT&T, BGR's source informs them, is that all staff training must be complete by early September, so that as many employees as possible are on hand to deal with a peak in demand.

That would certainly fit in with previous talk of extra staffing, with recently spotted adverts in the UK suggesting Apple was looking for temporary staff with enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, the iPhone to work in the fall. Apple, too, has dropped some heavy hints about the iPhone 5, with CFO Peter Oppenheimer claiming that a "future product transition" during September would affect sales estimates that quarter.

AT&T isn't the only carrier ramping up for the iPhone 5, either. Verizon Wireless, too, is preparing for the same launch window, amid suggestions that the smartphone will be a so-called "World Phone" having both CDMA and GSM connectivity to work on both networks.

Exact hardware specifications, however, are still unclear. Two schools of thought exist over what Apple will unveil: either an iPhone 4S, a somewhat incremental upgrade over the current handset, or an iPhone 5, with with a significant departure from the existing styling, borrowing cues from the MacBook Air, and housing a larger display. One report has indicated Apple may expand the iPhone line-up to three models, with a sub-$350 contract-free prepaid iPhone 3GS at the entry level, a mid-range iPhone 4 and the new iPhone 5 as the flagship.