iPhone 6 backplate (NowhereElse 002)

According to Chinese media reports, Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6 will be introduced at a media event to be held on Friday, September 19.

The following Thursday, September 25, the device is expected to launch across U.S. carriers and in Apple’s key international markets.

According to sources, a 5.5-inch variant of the iPhone 6 will be marketed under the iPhone Air moniker.

This would be similar to this year’s distinction between the iPad mini and iPad Air lineup. Also, this name change would reflect the bigger model’s thinness and compactness…

Citing “inside sources,” GforGames passes along report by Chinese media sources [Google translate] who believe that an entry-level iPhone Air with sixteen gigabytes of storage will retail in China for 5,998 yuan, which works out to about $965. The 4.7-inch version is said to start at 5,288 yuan ($850) for the 32GB edition, matching the current price of the 16GB iPhone 5s in the country.

Specifically, the 16/32GB iPhone 5s currently sells for 5,288/6,088 yuan in China. Carriers China Mobile and China Unicom are said to be testing their 4G network on an iPhone 6 prototype.

The September 25 launch sounds a little unusual. September 25 is a Thursday and Apple typically releases major new products on Fridays. Also, I’m not sure about the iPhone Air name – but then again, we have the iPad Air, don’t we?

At any rate, past two iPhone launches were in September so it’s safe to assume that the new iPhones would arrive in September as well. This rumor somewhat matches up nicely with previous reports calling for the September 19 unveiling.

For instance, German telecom operator Deutsche Telekom reportedly instructed its call center representatives to encourage customers whose contracts are expiring to stay loyal because the next iPhone would get introduced on September 19.

Soon after, a Chinese outlet corroborated September 19 as the most likely 4.7-inch iPhone 6 launch date, adding that Apple would provide the device in 16 and 32GB varieties, dropping the entry-level model with sixteen gigabytes of storage.

One thing is certain: September can’t come soon enough.