AT&T is already receiving third-party cases from Speck and OtterBox for the upcoming iPhone 4S.
As previously reported, Apple is slated to reveal something on or around October 4. Current Apple board member and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore recently said that the company's "new iPhones" (note the plural) will debut in October. Prior to that, rumors and "insider reports" have pointed to a new iPod Touch, a cloud-based iPhone 4S and the much-speculated iPhone 5 to be revealed at any day.
Now actual products are starting to appear on the market. Reports claim that AT&T corporate stores are currently receiving refreshed iPhone cases provided by Speck and OtterBox, one of which clearly reads "iPhone 4S" on the package. So far there have been no reports of potential iPhone 5 cases arriving as well.
According to images of the case offered by Speck, there's a new, enlarged hole for the camera, reportedly to compensate for the LED flash. Other than that, the case shows no additional changes over the regular iPhone 4 version, and doesn't even sport any visual ties to the rumored 4S model.
However the OtterBox version, which isn't seen unboxed, reads "iPhone 4S" clearly on the package. There's also a depiction of the phone case sporting different locations for the volume buttons than what's seen on the current model.
As reported earlier, the "cheap" iPhone 4S may be cloud-based, thinner, lighter and faster than the original iPhone 4. Backing up this description, supposed leaked images have revealed a hard white plastic chassis and a hard plastic screen, replacing the current model's glass design. The device will also reportedly feature better cameras, an A5 dual-core processor, and HSPA+ support.
Given that the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 (and probably the new iPod Touch) will sport Apple's new iOS 5, there's speculation that the big holdup is based around the software itself. Even Apple revealed at the WWDC back in June that iOS 5 wouldn't be ready until the fall -- or rather, somewhere between the third week of September and the end of November.