Sharp ready to ship displays to Apple, iPhone 5 September launch likely

Everyone's doing their bit to keep the iPhone 5 rumour mill churning merrily away it seems. Japanese consumer electronics firm Sharp is the latest to stoke the fanboys' fire, claiming that it will start shipping display screens - thought to be destined for Apple's latest flagship smartphone - later this month.

Speaking at a press conference following the release of Sharp's latest quarterly earnings, the company's new president, Takashi Okuda, said simply that "shipments will start in August," according to Reuters.

While Mr Okuda did not specifically say that the screens would be destined for the latest iPhone iteration - or venture anything about more exact dates - it is unlikely to be a coincidence given the timing. Apple is set to hold a 'special event' on 12 September, thought to be its traditional pre-holiday product launch party, according to multiple sources.

Sharp is one of only three suppliers of the panels – LG and Japan Display are the other two – so while the company has a policy of not directly commenting on its relationship with the US tech giant, it seems all but certain the screens will end up at an Apple production plant.

The news lends further credence to reports that 21 September is the day iPhone-iacs are waiting for, with other new devices like an iPad Mini also expected around that time.

"People are expecting a new iteration of the iPhone to hit the market sometime in the September-October time frame, so this kind of comment fits in to what we've been hearing in the market, generally," IHS analyst Vinita Jakhanwal said in conversation with Wired.

Despite a total lack of official news regarding the iPhone 5, chatter continues to be rife about the product. Scarcely a day goes by without new gossip or purported image leaks prised from anonymous sources.

Earlier today, speculative news began circulating that the new iPhone's dock connector – reported for some time to be smaller than the one on the 4 and 4S models – will now be a minuscule 8-pins, not the 16-pin or 19-pin interfaces previously expected.

Will the new iPhone live up to its massive hype, surely destined to only increase in the coming weeks? It remains to be seen how the handset itself fares in terms of both sales and critical reception, but ITProPortal knows one thing for sure - it's a crucial product for Apple.