Apple sets iPhone 5 release date for 21 September?

As fanboy attention briefly turns to today's release of the new Mac OS, Mountain Lion, the iPhone 5 rumour mill continues to churn monotonously away.

So far, we've heard that the next-gen iPhone is everything except for a contender in the Olympics 100 metres final: it's got a larger screen, a 19-pin dock connecter, is already available for pre-order in China, and will be formally unveiled on 7 August.

Now, a French blog is claiming it has the inside scoop on the most anticipated smartphone launch since the Galaxy S3, saying that the device is set to drop on 21 September, citing an anonymous source within the Chinese manufacturing chain

Apparently, Apple is beginning to privilege plants with provisional target details, which include a late-September bullseye, according to the person who is said to work for the third largest accessory maker in the People's Republic.

Is there any chance it's true? Apple released its last flagship smartphone, the iPhone 4S, on 14 October, 2011, and has a reputation for sticking to patterns it has abided by in the past. While 21 September isn't spot on, it's close enough to mid-October to be feasible.

There are a number of reasons why Apple would want to push out the iPhone 5 that little bit quicker, not least to boost sales following a growth slowdown.

Getting the iPhone 5 - even the moniker is pure speculation at this stage - into as many stockings as possible by Christmas will be Apple's foremost concern, as bitter rival Samsung's Galaxy S3 continues to nibble away its smartphone market share.