On Thursday afternoon, a verified China Telecom Corp. account on China's Sina Weibo Twitter clone posted a message advertising advance orders for the iPhone 5S and 5C, the two iPhones that Apple is expected to announced on Tuesday, Sept. 10.
The post was quickly deleted, but as we have said before, "What goes on the Internet, stays on the Internet." Screenshots were quickly taken and were put on different social networking sites, and more.
Another post on Sina Weibo indicates a Sept. 20 launch date. That date has already been forecast as the retail launch date for the iPhone 5C, and perhaps the iPhone 5S. Other reports, though, point to the introductions being staggered, with the 5C reaching retail on Sept. 20 and the 5S a week later.
However, major China-based retailer Dixintong is said to begin carrying the new iPhones on Sept. 25. It’s unclear if this is a general launch date for China's iPhone, or simply the date that Dixintong has chosen.
While most everything about the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S remains a rumor, one thing is certain. Apple has chosen to have a separate Chinese launch event for its new smartphone(s), for the first time. The fact that the Cupertino, Calif.-based giant has chosen Sept. 11, only one day after its U.S. launch event, could be telling.
Until now, Chinese launches for iPhones and iPads have trailed the U.S. by months. This would show Apple has recognized the importance of the world's biggest mobile device market (until surpassed by India, anyway).
Of course, part of the problem has been that China Mobile, the country's biggest -- and the world's biggest -- single carrier, has no iPhone. This could also signal a change in that direction.