First Apple iPhone 5 orders leaving China now
AppleInsider obtained a screenshot of a delivery update for UPS which shows that a pre-ordered Apple iPhone 5 left ZhengZhou, China on Sunday and is expected to arrive at its destination on Friday, September 21st. If you go to Apple's website, your order will still read "preparing for shipment" But if you take a reference number, like a cellphone number used when placing the pre-order, and use it to track the shipment, you should see that it has already started its journey.
Even though the phones are already on the move, only a small number of pre-orders arrive at their destination early. Most will arrive at your front door right on launch day.