A new report today from The Korea Times claims that Apple is preparing to launch the fourth-generation iPhone, with sources claiming that it could debut as early as April. The assertions apparently come from an executive of KT, the exclusive iPhone carrier in South Korea, who claims that the new iPhone will launch to large Korean corporate clients in April, with release to the general public occurring in June. Such a move would be odd for Apple, which has relied on the publicity and excitement of its iPhone launch events, a tactic that would be undermined by early availability of the handset to a limited customer base.

The executive also offered claims of an OLED screen and video chat capability for the next-generation iPhone, as well as a claim of a "highly likely" removable battery that would also be a surprising move from the company that has utilized a non-removable battery since the original iPhone and has transitioned to similar setups for its notebook computers.

They said the coming 4G iPhones will be equipped with organic light emitting diode (OLED) screens on surface and live video chat functionalities, while removable battery is highly likely.

The new 4G iPhone is also going to be loaded with dual core processors and higher and powerful graphic chips that can deliver higher video resolutions and better "still" images when taking pictures.

The report claims that Apple is planning for a relatively early introduction of the new iPhone compared to previous June or July launches in order to counter the stream of Android-based smartphones expected from Google in the wake of its launch of the Nexus One.

Reached for comment, a spokesperson in Apple's South Korean unit did offer confirmation that the company is in discussions regarding launch timing for the new iPhone.

"With KT, we've been in talks with other telecom carriers to gauge the launching timing of 4G iPhones in South Korea. More tech-oriented features will be added to the models," a representative of Apple's South Korean office said.

Meanwhile, French magazine Challenges briefly reports [Google translation] that Apple is planning to launch the next-generation iPhone in May.

Apple will launch in early May 2010 a new version of its iPhone, it was learned from several mobile operators. . . . No information was leaked, however the characteristics of the new device.

An iPhone launch ahead of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) would be something of a surprise, as Apple has consistently taken advantage of the conference to show off the forthcoming iPhone models and set the stage for their launches shortly after the conference. WWDC has been rumored to be set for June 28th through July 2nd based on the appearance of a generic "Corporate Event" listing on the Moscone Conference Center's event calendar, a placeholder tactic used in the past for Apple's conferences there. That listing has, however, now been removed from the Moscone Center's calendar.

Due to the rather surprising and questionable nature of these reports, we have collected them on Page 2 for discussion.

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