Telstra has labelled five ads as fake, which suggests that the telco is planning on selling two versions of Apple's iPhone: a 4G-supported iPhone 5, as well as a pre-paid iPhone 4S.
One of Telstra's purported iPhone 5 ads (Credit: Whirlpool Forums)
The A3-sized print ads, which appeared on forum site Whirlpool, bear Telstra's new "Life in full colour" advertising design, the telco's "It's how we connect" slogan and come complete with relevant disclaimers, trademarks and colour swatches.
Telstra distanced itself from the ads, telling ZDNet Australia this morning that they were nothing more than fakes.
The ads may well be an elaborate forgery, but the presence of identical Telstra colours, file-naming conventions, mock-up style, slogans, registered trademarks and coverage disclaimers make it a detailed one.
The five ads, posted by forum user Garnier, indicate that two devices will be announced on Tuesday: an iPhone 5, complete with support for Telstra's new 4G network, as well as a Next G network-compatible iPhone 4S, set to be launched on the carrier's prepaid plans.
One ad bears the slogan "We're making the iPhone 5 less intimidating", which could indicate that Telstra may be looking to refresh its plan offerings to coincide with the launch of the iPhone 5.
Another of the ads alludes to a colour choice for the iPhone 5. Apple originally promised to launch the previous generation of the iPhone in both black and white; however, "manufacturing delays" meant that the white version was pushed by almost a year.
The iPhone 4S ad (see larger)(Credit: whirlpool Forums)
A third advertisement says "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with iPhone", which echoes rumours that the iPhone 5 will be thinner than previous iterations.
The single iPhone 4S prepaid advertisement contains reference to the exclusivity of the device on Telstra, meaning that the incumbent giant may be the only carrier to pick up the new, cheaper iPhone.
The current iPhone 4 has been available through all carriers, including Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, as well as their subsidiaries and licensed mobile virtual network operator partners. The release of an iPhone 4S on Telstra alone would make it the first exclusive release to a carrier in Australia.
Steve Jobs to announce new iPhones?
Although the device was originally expected to be announced in June in accordance with the annual release cycle, the iPhone announcement now comes after the August resignation of Apple CEO Steve Jobs from his executive role, and the appointment of chief operating officer Tim Cook to take his place.
Steve Jobs' iPhone 5 ad reference (See larger)(Credit: Whirlpool Forums)
Jobs moved into the role of board chairman at Apple.
One of the ads, however, alludes that Jobs may in fact play a larger role in the announcement of the device, bearing the slogan "Steve Jobs is simply iPhone 5", which could mean a surprise appearance by the Apple co-founder to announce the new devices.
Other rumours concerning the device include the addition of a near-field communications (NFC) chip for data transfer and mobile payments, an edge-to-edge screen and an 8-megapixel camera.
If the ads were legitimate, their preparation before the device announcements would have indicated that Telstra received briefings on the device long before the 4 October release date had been announced.
However, screenshots of the advertisements posted onto Whirlpool forums contain dates in the filenames, including 12 November, 23 November and 28 November. These dates typically refer to the release schedule of the ads themselves.
Apple has previously released devices to Australia on a second-phase basis. The iPhone 4, for example, arrived in Australia months after the release of the device in the US.
Apple is expected to make its official iPhone announcements on Wednesday morning, Australian time.