Apple shares shoot up on iPhone launch rumour

Apple shares have shot higher after unconfirmed reports that the tech giant is preparing to launch a new version of its hot-selling iPhone in September.

Apple traded up 1.7 per cent to end the day at US$595.03.

The technology blog iMore, which follows Apple events, said it learned that a launch event was set for September 12 for the iPhone 5, and that the phones would start shipping by September 21.

The report cited "sources who have proven accurate in the past".

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The blog said the new iPad mini - a smaller version of the market-leading tablet computer - would be announced at the same event along with a new iPod nano.

It said the release date for the iPad mini was not set but that it could come at the same time as the iPhone 5.

Apple normally keeps its product launches close to the vest, but a number of reports have said the iPhone and iPad will be released in time for holiday sales.

The iMore report was the first however with a specific launch date.

The Dow Jones website AllThingsD said it confirmed that Apple scheduled a "special event" September 12 but not whether it was for the iPhone. The technology site said however that it was clear that Apple is "ramping up for a big fall product cycle" by stockpiling inventory components.

Another Apple-monitoring blog, iLounge, said it learned "from a highly reliable source" that the new iPhone would be ready in mid-September, "pointing to a launch date around the third week of September, maybe a little later if it waits to build additional inventory."

The iLounge report said the iPad mini release date "is a big question mark right now" and suggested that "Apple could hold a special event" for the tablet.

Apple earlier this month reported slower sales growth than expected, and noted that some people may be delaying purchases in anticipation of new product launches.

Apple factored a "product transition" in September into financial guidance for the current quarter, fuelling wild talk of a next-generation iPhone on the horizon.

"We try very hard to keep our product roadmap secret and confidential," Apple chief Tim Cook said last week.

"I'm not going to put any energy into stopping people from speculating," he added.

"I'm glad that people want the next thing; I'm super happy about it."

-AFP

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