A version of the iPhone capable of running on Verizon's CDMA-based mobile network will be manufactured at the end of 2010, leading the path to an early 2011 launch for the device. The Wall Street Journal reports that the CDMA-based iPhone is real, the rumors of Verizon getting the device are substantiated, and an order has been placed with manufacturing plants for millions of the device.
Similar rumors and stories have been popping up for the last five or six months. Speculation of the future of iPhone hit a fever pitch as people began getting curious over whether or not Apple would renew its exclusivity deal with AT&T, to date the only carrier in the US that has received any iPhone product.
But the iPhone is too big to be contained by just one mobile provider, and no one really expected the deal to get renewed. The only big question was who would be the first other carrier to get the phone. Verizon is the obvious choice since it has more customers and ranks higher in user satisfaction than any of its competitors. However it uses a completely different network standard than AT&T which means a redesign of the device is necessary.
Apple loves being secretive about any new products and typically doesn't make an official announcement until the day a new product is available. As such the company has been absolutely quiet on its plans after the deal with AT&T runs out. It's not even known for certain that they let that deal expire.
One leading theory is that Apple and Verizon will officially make the announcement of a Verizon iPhone in early January at the world's biggest trade show, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.