Update: We have received a flood of emails from readers who received shipping notifications last night (October 8, 2012) and will be receiving the new iPod touch by October 15.
While the fifth-generation iPod touch was announced simultaneously with the iPhone 5, and Apple began to take orders immediately for the colorful 4-inch display device, nobody was really sure when it would ship. Apple showed availability as "October," which was rather imprecise. Now reports are surfacing about the status for individual orders in some countries changing to "Preparing for Shipment."
Japanese Apple news site Macotakara reports that the official sales date for the iPod touch (fifth generation) and iPod nano (seventh generation) in Japan is October 9, and that supplies are expected to be limited. MacRumors noted on Friday that the estimated ship date for the Australian online Apple Store had changed to "three weeks," with customers finding a delivery date of October 29. On the New Zealand online store, deliveries were timed for November 2.
Checking many of the online Apple Store sites today shows that the ship dates for new orders are now back to the incredibly vague "October." If any TUAW readers have the new iPod touch on order and have received a shipping notice, please let us know through the tip button in the upper right side of this page.