The iPhone 5C is expected to be a cheaper version of Apple's flagship phone. Like the iPod mini, the iPhone 5C is rumored to come in many different colors.

It's September. For iPhone users, this is (likely) the month when Apple will finally release the long-awaited new iPhone. But what exactly are we waiting for? Apple is notoriously tight-lipped about upcoming product releases, but between the analysis by industry experts and leaks coming out of Apple's own factories, we can get a pretty good idea of what to expect this month.

iPhone 5C and 5S: two phones with different target markets

This leaked photo is allegedly of the cheap and colorful iPhone 5C.

So far, the iPhone has been a high-end product. Instead of offering cheaper versions of the same product, Apple lowers the price of older models. Now, it seems that the iPhone will be going the way of the iPod. Just as Apple released the cheaper "mini" version of the iPod in 2004, it is expected to launch an affordable, colorful alternative to the iPhone with the iPhone 5C.

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Leaked photos allegedly of the iPhone 5C show the device in yellow, blue, red and green. According to a Morgan Stanley analysis in June, the new iPhone 5C could retail between $349 and $399 — which is $50-$100 less than the older iPhone 4.

Meanwhile, Apple is also expected to release the latest and greatest version of the iPhone 5. Not very much new information has emerged since we did our comprehensive iPhone 5S rumor roundup a couple weeks ago except that the latest high-end phone from Apple may come in a graphite (not black) color.

September 10th likely for announcement, with a September 20th retail launch

Apple has started a new trade-in program for old iPhones—a sure sign that fresh devices are on the horizon. And since the notoriously accurate Apple source The Loop confirmed the date with an ominous "yep," it has been widely accepted that the next iPhone keynote will happen on September 10th. (Apple has since confirmed the Sept. 10 date.)

Usually, manufacturers like to let things simmer a bit after the announcements. While Apple may reveal their latest phone on the 10th, they are expected to wait until the 20th for the actual retail release. This date has been reinforced by company-wide memos from Apple retailers banning time off for employees around the 20th.

What about iOS 7?

The latest version of Apple's mobile operating system will likely become publicly available with the launch of the iPhone 5S and 5C. As we reported last weekNuance — the company behind Siri's speech recognition — sent out an email claiming that iOS 7 will be released on the same day as the iPhone product announcement. 

Not everyone is convinced by Nuance's slip. Ars Technica reckons that iOS 7 will likely become available between the announcement date of September 10th and the product launch on September 20th, citing September 18th as the most likely.