The image above was captured by a Vodafone employee and promptly sent off as a leak to Stuff magazine, and then later picked up by Pocket-Lint. It’s fair to say, it’s doing the rounds.

And, although it’s being reported by many sites that it signals that Apple will be skipping “5S” and going straight to “6″, it shouldn’t be taken as confirmation of anything.

In all truth, carriers know about as much about the next iPhone as we do right now, in fact at store level, they probably know less. If anyone knows anything, it’ll only be the guys at the very top of the executive pile, and they wouldn’t risk losing their jobs by sharing any key information with staff.

Fact is simple: this is Vodafone preparing for the next iPhone, whatever it may be. Whoever’s placed it on the system has done so to use it more as a marker than anything else. There’s no stock on file, and this kind of thing happens all the time before an iPhone launch.

With Vodafone also preparing to launch its 4G network in the UK, it’s also likely that it’s started compiling a list of handsets with compatible chipsets built in. iPhone 5 won’t be compatible with the bandwidths used by Vodafone, if Apple has any sense, the next iPhone will be.

So, don’t go taking this as evidence that the next phone will be the iPhone 6. Just note that carriers and stores are already preparing their systems for stock of whatever is coming next.

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