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Verizon iPhone could hit market as soon as January

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(Read caption) Verizon iPhone? Well, stranger things have happened. Here, a white iPhone 4 is pictured at a press conference in June.

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A Verizon iPhone is indeed on the way – and it could hit the market as soon as January; that's the word today from the popular blog TechCrunch. If the report is accurate, the smartphone market is in for a major shake-up. Word of a Verizon iPhone, of course, has been percolating for months, although Apple and Verizon have repeatedly sought to downplay the rumors.

Now TechCrunch's Steve Cheney says he has proof that a Verizon iPhone launch is imminent.

"Sources with knowledge of this entire situation have assured me that Apple has submitted orders for millions of units of Qualcomm CDMA chipsets for a Verizon iPhone run due in December," writes Cheney. "This production run would likely be for a January launch, and I’d bet the phone is nearly 100 percent consistent with the current iPhone 4 (with a fixed internal insulator on the antenna)."

But that's not all. Over at MSNBC, reporter Suzanne Choney has reviewed AT&T's quarterly filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, and found an intriguing snippet where the company discusses reducing its dependence on "any single handset." Does the company mean the BlackBerry Torch? Or a drifting away from its cash cow, the iPhone.

Before today, the most recent evidence of a Verizon iPhone had been produced by Bloomberg News, which spoke in late June with two sources "familiar with the plans." According to Bloomberg, a Verizon iPhone was scheduled to hit the market in January of 2011 – more or less in line with the current rumors. But there have been plenty of conflicting reports.

Back in June, for instance, Shawn Wu, an analyst with Kaufman Bros., released a report speculating that the next carrier to get the iPhone will be T-Mobile. "Interestingly, both the new iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS support 3G at the 2100 MHz frequency and, from our understanding, the technical hurdle to support T-Mobile is minor compared to supporting CDMA technology at VZ and Sprint," Wu wrote at the time.


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