iPhone 5 release date on August 16? Apple Store job posting saying so!

Apple’s iPhone 5 could arrive earlier than expected. Apple posted a job application for iPhone sales specialists, hinting at the possibility of an earlier release for the iPhone 5 than previous rumors have suggested. The recruitment site is looking for full-time sales staff on behalf of Apple who has experience of selling mobile phones and will be able to demonstrate the handset to customers in Apple stores.

The posting surfaced on the U.K. job site Reed two days ago. The listing seeks new iPhone sales specialists willing to work five days a week. New hires will have to undergo four days of training in the second week of August before their first official day of work on August 16. The listing is for a temporary position that will end on October 29.

According to the listings, Apple is “seeking full-time iPhone Sales Staff for an exciting project to work 5 days a week (Tuesday-Saturday) for the period 16th August – 29th October.” Among the responsibilities would be capturing “the hearts and minds of potential customers.”

Most recent speculation suggests an iPhone 5 release sometime in September, but Apple’s new hiring schedule may push that date up some. If these rumors are true, there are several ways Apple may benefit from an August launch of the iPhone 5. An August release could help the company steal the thunder of the anticipated Motorola Droid Bionic, believed to hit stores as early as August 4.

Apple has yet to confirm the existence of the next iPhone, but the company does plan on launching iOS 5 this fall. Most critics expect Apple to release a new smartphone alongside the iOS 5 release. Current iPhone 5 rumors suggest the next Apple handset will feature the company’s dual-core A5 processor, an 8 mega-pixel camera, and possibly a new “teardrop” form factor. One bone of contention among Apple watchers is whether the next iPhone will be called the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 5.

It’s also not clear whether iOS 5 will be ready for August. The new iOS software is currently at beta 3 and most reports claim the new OS is getting better but still buggy. In 2010, iOS 4 reached gold master status after four beta versions and more than two weeks before the June 24 launch date.

The launch of the device is likely to occur in the U.S. at the same time, as the iPhone 4 was launched in the U.S. and the U.K. on the exact same day of last year.

The new 4G LTE compatible iPhone 5 is expected to arrive with an 8MP dual-LED flash camera with 1080p native video playback, an enhanced A5 processor, a larger 3.7-inch curved glass screen and voice recognition features.