The iPhone 5 will ship to eager Apple fans on Friday, September 23, according to sources close to Apple.

A Chinese source leaked the release date to a French website called App4Phone yesterday, providing the specific date.

The source also confirmed the new controversial port on the base of the phone, which will make older accessories obsolete unless a separate adapter is purchased.

We all know the phone as the ‘iPhone 5’, unless Apple decides on another moniker like it did with the iPad 3, which it officially called ‘the new iPad’.

Other revelations include the headphone socket moving from the top-left of the phone to the bottom-left of the phone, and that the screen will be 3.75 inches.

This is an increase on the 3.5″ of previous models, but perhaps smaller than some fans might like, after being introduced to the 4.8″ screens of models like the Samsung Galaxy III or the HTC One X.

The source was an unnamed Chinese accessory manufacturer, who claimed to have been given the date directly from Apple.

So far, leaks from within Apple have suggested an October launch.

Pegatron – one of Apple’s normal suppliers – has begun production of the new phone already, according to a report in DigiTimes.

The manufacturer will also be working on a smaller iPad later in the year.

The new iPhone will have an even thinner screen thanks to advances in LCD manufacturing, according to reports.

The latest Apple gadget will feature ‘in-cell technology’ which has touch sensors in the screen instead of another layer on top as it is now.

Tech blogs have long speculated on the demise of the 30-pin connector, which at 21 mm wide takes up a chunk of space, especially as the latest technologies such as microUSB offer more power in less space.

They say that a smaller connector would give Apple more scope for new product designs or a bigger battery, or simply to make ever smaller products.

Switzerland’s Logitech, one of the biggest makers of Apple speakers, declined to comment.  But some enterprising vendors in China have already begun offering cases for the new phone, complete with earphone socket on the bottom and a ‘guarantee’ the dimensions are correct.

For some in the peripherals industry, the change could open doors to new business.

‘iPod docking speaker sales have been declining for one or two years,’ said an employee of a Hong Kong-based company that designs speakers especially for Apple products.

‘My previous factory is a lucky one. They shifted the focus to Bluetooth speakers, which proved a wise decision now,’ the employee said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

‘It looks like while iPod speaker sales are going down, Bluetooth speaker sales are going up.’