Rene Ritchie of iMore caused a stir this morning with a report that Apple will announce both the next iPhone and an iPad "mini" on September 12th. Ritchie credits the information to sources who have proven accurate in the past. Additionally, the sources claim that the next iPhone's release date will be Friday, September 21st--a scant nine days after the reported announcement event. That's in line with the nine days it typically takes for newly announced Apple products to go through FCC approval (the iPhone 4S was in stores 10 days after its unveiling). While the validity of "trusted source"-based rumors is something you should always take with a grain of salt, informed Apple pundit MG Siegler seems to believe the report, and AllThingsD has since corroborated the September 12th date with its own presumably different sources.
The purported pinpointing of Apple's next launch event comes days after photos of supposedly leaked next-generation iPhone parts were posted online by iLab Factory. These photos--and even video--show a design that's in line with rumors that Apple is changing the design of the phone to accomodate a 4" screen. Other notable features shown in the photos that have been previously reported as rumors include a new dock connector, relocated headphone jack, and solid backplate. Overall the design looks like a refinement of the metal-band chassis introduced with the iPhone 4, though apparently taller and thinner. I like it.
More surprising is the inclusion of an iPad "mini" debut in Ritchie's iMore report. Rumors and speculation of a smaller 7.x-inch iPad has gained momentum in the past few months, though physical evidence of such a device has yet to surface. Will is on record as extremely skeptical that this will be a real product released by Apple, while I am fully on board as a believer. My confidence that Apple will release a smaller iPad to compete in the $200-$300 tablet market rates 10 hardboiled eggs strong.