Apple's next iPhone will make its formal debut less than a month from today, on September 10, according to a report from All Things D.

The new phone could be released side-by-side with a more-affordable plastic sibling, which leaks have hinted will be called the iPhone 5C. Unlike Apple's aluminum-brushed flagship, the lower-cost 5C would cater to emerging global markets, and could mark the phasing out of the iPhone 4S and its older 30-pin dock connector, which the company would like to streamline.

As far as we can tell, the iPhone 5S (or whatever the new high-end phone is called) will leave little to the imagination when the curtains rise. Software-wise, it will come packaged with the drastically redesigned iOS 7, which has designers and critics divided. And the phone is expected to retain the same 4-inch Retina display as its predecessor, with faster processors, a nicer camera, and the usual batch of incremental hardware upgrades. (Read more: Everything we know about the iPhone 5S).

Rumors of a security-boosting fingerprint sensor have also been floating around. But Apple is rumored to be running into supply chain issues with the sensor's hardware, which, as Cult of Mac points out, could make for a bumpy launch come September.

Apple's investors have been calling on the company to ratchet up its innovation cycle, and everything from computerized watches to TVs has been floated about as potentially "the next big thing." Nothing has materialized to date, however, and more than a few critics have opined that Apple is losing its luster.

Perhaps that will change. During a July earnings call, Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer noted that Apple was "very hard at work on some amazing new products that we will introduce in the fall and across 2014."

But the gap between Apple and Android's respective share of the smartphone has been widening, thanks in no small part to a plethora of topnotch handsets by HTC, Samsung, and more recently, Motorola Mobility.

(Via Pew Internet Research)

That's why all eyes will be on Tim Cook and a cast of executives come September as they march onstage, new iPhone in hand. Apple's next flagship machine will be trotted out as "amazing" — and it probably will be. But phones — particularly the ones with "i" in front of their names — have matured to a point where amazing doesn't dazzle, and all that glitters isn't gold.