TechCrunch reported Sunday that Apple is planning to begin production of a Verizon iPhone in December, citing informants in the overseas supply chain. That would put the handset on track for a January launch -- a date that has been previously rumored.
"Sources with knowledge of this entire situation have assured me that Apple has submitted orders for millions of units of Qualcomm CDMA chips for a Verizon iPhone run due in December," author Steve Cheney wrote. "This production run would likely be for a January launch and I'd bet the phone is nearly 100% consistent with the current iPhone 4 (with a fixed internal insulator on the antenna)."
The report also noted that the CEO of Verizon is scheduled to give the opening keynote at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, and the announcement of a Verizon iPhone could serve as a bombshell for the show. Cheney gave the caveat that he cannot say "with 100% accuracy" that a Verizon iPhone will arrive in January, though he said that "all of the signals point that way."
Rumors of a Verizon iPhone have persisted for some time, but reports of the device launching in the coming months have gained considerable steam of late. In June, when Bloomberg said it was told that Apple would start selling a CDMA handset in 2011, marking the end of exclusivity in the U.S. for AT&T.
Soon after, another report alleged that Apple has built and perfected a CDMA iPhone, and could quickly begin production of the device whenever a deal is struck with Verizon. An earlier June report alleged that Apple would ship a Verizon iPhone in the fourth quarter of 2010, also citing industry sources.
The endless Verizon iPhone rumors quieted earlier this year, when Apple announced the iPad, and the 3G-capable version of its touchscreen tablet was not compatible with Verizon's network. But they picked up again, when The Wall Street Journal, in late March, said that Apple was working on two new iPhones -- the iPhone 4, and a CDMA-capable version that were said to go into mass production in September.