As the yet-to-be-announced fall release date of the iPhone 5 draws closer, speculation on the device's service providers and the exact day it will hit stores has been increasing.

A New York Times reporter claims to have spoken with an anonymous Apple employee, who estimated the new iPhone will be sold within weeks. Rumors based on the early release of iPhone accessories such as soft sleeves and power cords have led to the industry expecting an October date, but Apple hasn't made any official announcements.

Like the iPhone 4, a prototype of the model was alleged to be lost in a San Francisco bar and either sold or procured by a private party. The media hype surrounding the event has produced a lot of speculation on the phone's size, capabilities and release date, although none of it has been confirmed or denied by either Apple or any of its partner accessory manufacturers.

Further news pointing to the imminent sale of the new iPhone is coming from Sprint Nextel. Bloomberg News has reported that the service provider will offer an unlimited data plan with its first Apple mobile offering, and rumors have been circulating that the company has been installing signal improving equipment near Apple stores in anticipation of the phone soon hitting shelves.