Verizon iPhone reportedly spotted in the wild

Verizon iPhone is headed for an early 2011 launch, according to several sources.

A Verizon iPhone has reportedly been spotted at a Verizon training event. Here, consumers try out at the Apple iPhone at a store in China.

A Verizon iPhone has reportedly been spotted at a Verizon training event, bolstering hopes that an LTE-capable iPhone will hit store shelves in the next few months. According to MacDailyNews, which spoke to an anonymous Verizon employee, a Verizon iPhone has been "100 percent cooked for quite a while," and should be officially unveiled sometime after the holiday season has subsided.

MacDailyNews has stressed that its "information is from a sole source that we believe to be credible, but should be treated as rumor, since we cannot independently confirm the information at this time." Still, this isn't the first time a Verizon iPhone has been rumored to be in the hopper: As far back as August, the Wall Street Journal was reporting that AT&T's exclusive contract with Apple would soon come to an end.

Toward the end of October, Fortune magazine published an article saying that the Verizon iPhone does exist – and maintaining that it will ship in early 2011. "Unfortunately for globe trotters," Fortune contributor Sarah Ellison wrote at the time, "the first version of the phone likely won't be built to work outside the US – it probably won't carry a special chip that can turn it into a world phone."

IN PICTURES: Apple's iCandy

We're going to go ahead and speculate that the Verizon iPhone – if not a certainty – is probably going to end up on American shores sooner or later. So what kind of effect will a Verizon iPhone have on the smartphone market? Well, for one, it will be a boon for consumers sick of all the dropped calls on the AT&T network. For another, it will be a body blow to AT&T, which has happily enjoyed having the iPhone all to itself for months.

And hey – with all the competition, we might even see prices come down on the Apple iPhone 4.

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