Apple iPhone 5 watchers have pinned down Wednesday, Sept. 12, as the smartphone announcement date and Sept. 21 as the likely U.S. shipping date. Now comes word from the rumorsphere that Sept. 14 will be the date pre-orders will start.

The MacRumors website suggests that Apple is staffing up its support team for early Friday to handle the flood of anticipated pre-orders. Apple went with a similar schedule last year, not allowing pre-orders immediately after the iPhone 4S announcement.

See also: Live Feed: Apple iPhone 5 launch event

Apple confirmed last week that it would be holding an event on Sept. 12 that, based on the invite, assuredly means the iPhone 5 will be unveiled. It's expected that Apple will also use the event to roll out new iPods and iPod Touches, elaborate on iOS 6, and possibly discuss various cloud and music streaming initiatives.

The new phone is expected to have a taller, but not wider screen, 4G/LTE cellular radio, an Apple-designed dual-core processor in a smaller form factor, which will draw less power, but possibly a higher clock speed, to maintain or slightly improve performance, as Network World's John Cox wrote last week.

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