Verizon iPhone Release Date Set For January 2011, Report Claims (UPDATED)

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UPDATE: A new report in the Wall Street Journal, which cites "people briefed by Apple," suggests that the Verizon iPhone release date is set for early 2011. Read more about the latest rumor here.
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Apple's iPhone is coming to Verizon in January 2011, according to a new report from Bloomberg, which cites "two people familiar with the plans."

Bloomberg writes,

The device will be available to customers in January, according to the people, who declined to be named because the information isn't public. Brenda Raney, a spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment. Natalie Kerris, an Apple spokeswoman, and Peter Thonis, a Verizon Communications Inc. spokesman, declined to comment.

The report does not address Apple's confirmation that it has a five-year iPhone-exclusivity deal with AT&T, which is not set to expire until 2012.

An analyst cited by Bloomberg estimated that Apple could sell some 3 million iPhones a quarter to Verizon subscribers, if the AT&T lost its exclusive rights to the iPhone.

Business Insider
speculates Verizon could be behind the leak:

We wouldn't be surprised if this was Verizon's doing, in an attempt to get people to wait before upgrading to the iPhone 4 and extending their AT&T contracts another two years. The carrier has a history of leaked information during sensitive times for its competitors.

Earlier this month, a Digitimes post fueled new talk of a Verizon iPhone appearing later this year. Digitimes wrote that Pegatron, a Taiwanese manufacturer, had plans to ship an iPhone compatible with Verizon's CDMA network in the fourth quarter of 2010.

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