The iPhone 12 - arguably the tech industry's and certainly Apple's biggest launch of the year - is days away from being unveiled, according to BT/EE boss Marc Allera. And he should know, since the firms will be offering contracts with the new phone and anticipate being "Europe's number-one partner for Apple".

The surprising slip was spotted in a video made for internal company distribution and has been seen by MacRumors, which doesn't embed or link to the video. We therefore can't vouch for the accuracy of the report - we have only still images to go on - although the site has been reliable in the past.

"We are just days away from Apple's next major launch, a 5G iPhone," said Allera, according to MacRumors, "which will be a huge boost for 5G."

The video appears intended to lay out plans and boost morale among BT and EE staff ahead of what will be a crucial launch for those businesses as well as for Apple. It was shared yesterday, 22 September, suggesting that the iPhone 12 (which is almost certain to offer 5G) will appear in late September or early October, and features a cameo appearance from Eddy Cue, Apple's internet software and services VP.

On reflection, mind you, it's hard to view this as an earth-shattering revelation, which might explain why Cue doesn't leap out of his seat to intervene. (As mentioned above I haven't see the video myself, but I assume he doesn't do this.) "Just days away" certainly implies - to my mind at least - a period of time between two days and a fortnight, but could reasonably be intended to mean something in the region of a month or even longer. Technically any period of time could be described as "just days" without there being grounds to say it's plain wrong.

In any case the fact that Apple's iPhone 12 is going to launch this autumn - and has been in production since the summer - is one of the worst-kept secrets in the industry. It didn't appear at the Time Flies event on 15 September, and there are only so many opportunities between then and the end of the year to announce a phone in time for the holiday buying season.

Lots of new products were delayed by the impact of the pandemic, and we suspect that Apple is currently sitting on so many that it will struggle to give adequate stage time in one event alone. It may well hold one event in October for the iPhone 12 and another in November for new Macs.

Catch all the latest leaks in our iPhone 12 news hub. If you're more interested in the current range, check out our guide to the best iPhone deals.