Telefonica, which owns the O2 network, is reportedly set to begin scaling back iPhone stock in advance of "the launch of a new smartphone" on 12 September.

That new smartphone, it stands to reason, is the much-discussed but never once confirmed iPhone 5, with the stock recall tip coming from an anonymous network employee.

The iPhone 5 release date has swung from June 2011 to early 2012 and back again, but speculation does seem to have settled in a middling point around the September/October 2011 time.

Hype machine

Traditionally, Apple launches its iPhone upgrades in June at WWDC, but this year's show brought only iOS 5, with nary a wider touchscreen or slimmer chassis in sight.

After the WWDC no-show, the speculation over the iPhone 5's release date has become almost as absurd as the seemingly endless patent disputes being slung back and forth between Apple and various other smartphone and tablet manufacturers.

Say what you like about the rumours, though, we like September for an iPhone 5 launch. We're not sold on 12 September as the release date, but we'd say there's some credence to this particular network-led rumour.

Rumourometer

From Engadget

We'll while away the time before September speculating about what Apple should and shouldn't shoe-horn into the new iPhone. Here's our thinking to date: