By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
August 2, 2011

iPhone 4S or 5? September or October? Everybody’s guessing. Nobody really knows.

Has Apple (AAPL) scheduled an August event to launch the next iPhone in September, as the Boy Genius reports? Or has the launch been pushed back to October in the U.S, as All Things D, Apple’s current favorite outlet, insists?

Is it to be called the iPhone 5, the name most analysts prefer, or the iPhone 4S, as BMO’s Keith Bachman confidently called it Tuesday as he raised his September unit sales estimate to 19.5 million (from 18 million) and his price target to $465 (from $450).

Will it look like the iPhone 4? Or will it be thinner and tapered, as suggested by the cases 9to5Mac has uncovered, and endowed with a larger screen, as supply chain sources tell Sterne Agee’s Shaw Wu?

The Apple rumor mill, like nature, abhors a vacuum. And with Cupertino keeping its usual official silence, the tech blogs are filling it with equal parts of speculation and bravado.

Jonathan Geller, who has has unusually good carrier sources, reports in a Boy Genius exclusive that AT&T (T) has canceled vacations for two weeks in early September for the iPhone launch. All Things D‘s John Paczkowski insists with equal certainty that Geller is wrong. “I don’t know why AT&T’s calling for all hands on deck those weeks,” an unnamed source familiar with Apple’s plans tells him, “but it’s not for an iPhone launch.”

Hedging their bets, at least two analysts have offered alternative September iPhone sales estimates to accommodate both Geller’s version of reality and Paczkowski’s.

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