New Verizon iPhone Rumors Paint a Clearer Picture

Over the last few months, the tech press has grown wary of Verizon iPhone rumors, which usually quote anonymous sources or analyst speculation with no supporting evidence. The latest volley is different.

We're now seeing reports on the phone's supposed specs, evidence of supply chain ripples and suspicious code in iOS4. Together, they make the strongest case yet for a January Verizon iPhone launch.

First came a report in TechCrunch last week by Steve Cheney. He claims, citing unnamed sources, that "Apple has submitted orders for millions of units of Qualcomm CDMA chipsets for a Verizon iPhone run due in December." The phone, Cheney guesses, would be similar to the iPhone 4, except for maybe a fixed internal insulator to address signal-blocking issues with the external antenna. A December run could mean January availability.

A report last week by John Gruber on Daring Fireball came to a similar conclusion, that "the wheels are turning on N92, the CDMA variant of the iPhone 4."

DVice got a unique story from an "inside source," who said the Verizon iPhone would have a 1.2GHz processor (the iPhone 4 processor is 1GHz), a larger screen and an internal antenna at Verizon's insistence. No information on launch date was given, and I'm instinctively skeptical of drastic design changes, but anything's possible in the rumor mill.

Finally, Boy Genuis Report claims that a block of code from deep within iOS4 bypasses the need for iTunes activation. Apple reportedly introduces this code every year before a major product launch, allowing field testers to use new devices without going through iTunes. A source told BGR that the device in question is either a CDMA iPhone or a next-generation iPad.

A recent survey by Morpace Omnibus concluded that more than half of Verizon subscribers want to buy a Verizon iPhone, and so do almost a quarter of AT&T subscribers. But January is still five months away, and we're still talking about rumors. The survey didn't say what percentage of those subscribers would end up with Android, Windows Phone 7 or BlackBerry instead.

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