Reading the Tea Leaves: New iPhones on September 18

Apple hasn't made any official announcements yet, but enough pieces are coming together so that it's easy to make an educated guess on when the iPhone 6 replacement is coming out: September 18. Apple typically releases new iPhone models in September so that's a given, and thanks to the company's cell service partners who don't get the meaning of "secret," the actual launch date is looking like Friday, September 18.

The next iPhone will launch on Sept 18, but will look newer than this oneThe next iPhone will launch on Sept 18, but will look newer than this one

First up is Apple's rumored September 9 media event. Invitations haven't gone out yet, but insider sources say the company is planning an iPhone unveiling for the first full week in September. Reports also claim Apple will use the event to update Apple TV, which is long over due for a refresh.

Apple typically announces new iPhone models and then starts pre-sales a few days later. The updated models hit store shelves a week after that. Assuming Apple does host its unveiling on the 9th, pre-orders would start on Friday, September 11 and in-store sales would follow a week later on September 18.

Pinning a firm ship date on speculation surrounding when the media event will take place does seem a bit tenuous, but there are other reports backing up the 18th. The German site die Wahrheit said (english translation), "From mobile circles, we were able to find out that the German providers prepare this year on September 18, 2015. At least we have heard from two of three providers."

Sources speaking with the Japanese site IT (english translation) also pegged September 9 for the new iPhone announcement, and the 18th for the launch.

Now that we have what looks to be independent sources mentioning the same dates, Apple's time frame seems to be firming up—but there's more: changes at Best Buy fit perfectly into the timeline, too.

According to sources speaking with 9to5 Mac, Best Buy will start selling AppleCare in its stores the week of September 14. That happens to be the same week the next iPhone will launch, which gives the big box retailer just a couple days to get up to speed before new phone sales start.

We're still building a tapestry from a few threads, but based on Apple's track record and what looks like multiple sources corroborating each other, it's looking like consumers will be able to get their hands on the next iPhone on September 18.