The first batch of pre-ordered iPhone 5s is currently winging its merry way to users straight from the manufacturing plants. In order to ensure they arrive on the promised release date, this Friday 21 September, the handsets have been dispatched from ZhengZhou in China.

While the phones are now in transit, via UPS, customers are being advised that they will still receive them only on the quoted release date. However, in similar circumstances, Pocket-lint received its original iPad a day early, so who knows? Maybe some fanboys will gain bragging rights over others, at least for a day.

apple ships iphone 5 pre orders direct from china as first handsets on their way image 2

As well as anecdotal evidence elsewhere, the dispatch details were revealed by a delivery update posted on tech site Apple Insider, that also claims many others who have pre-ordered the iPhone 5 can track their already shipped package even though Apple itself lists it as "preparing for shipment".

Certainly, sitting at home tracking your sparkly new iPhone is a darn sight more comfortable than queuing outside an Apple Store, as Richard Wheatcroft and George Horne started to do in London's Regent Street last Thursday evening.