Verizon iPhone in January? Wait a Minute...

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Verizon iPhone
OMG, have you heard? The iPhone is coming to Verizon. Like, for real this time. It'll happen next January. Or maybe sometime this summer. Either way, it's practically a guarantee. Because, you know, sources with close knowledge of the situation have confirmed it.

If you find yourself shaking your head and sighing, you aren't alone. The Verizon iPhone rumors, reignited this week thanks to a new report by Bloomberg, have been floating around for years. And every time a fresh one emerges, the Internet and more than a few investors erupt in excitement.

The latest rumor, in case you haven't heard, is that Verizon will start selling Apple's iPhone in January of 2011. The info comes from -- you guessed it -- "people familiar with the plans."

Hey, it could be true. But just for some perspective, I thought I'd dig up some of the past instances where we've heard equally certain-sounding predictions about the iPhone's big future on Big Red.

Take a deep breath -- here we go.

September 2008: The iPhone Will Reach Verizon in Early 2009.

Back in the fall of 2008, Apple blog published a report suggesting the iPhone would make its Verizon debut in 2009, possibly as early as January.

Citing a tipster who had "Verizon insider credentials," the blog said Apple was in final negotiations with Verizon and should have everything locked down by the end of the year.

April 2009: Scratch That -- The Verizon iPhone Is On for Early 2010.

After the early '09 Verizon iPhone rumor didn't pan out, it didn't take long for some new scuttlebutt to take its place. Last spring, the hot news was that 2009's iPhone would be the last one exclusive to AT&T, and the Verizon model would launch sometime in 2010.

October 2009: Oh Yeah! 70 Percent Chance of a Verizon iPhone in 2010.

The odds heated up in October when Piper analyst Chris Larsen predicted there was a 70 percent chance of Verizon getting the iPhone in 2010. In related news, your local TV weatherman predicts there's a 70 percent chance of it raining tomorrow; both numbers are equally meaningful.

October 2009: Can We Make That Late 2010?

That same month, Wall Street analyst Brian Marshall told clients Apple would bring its baby over to Verizon sometime in the second half of 2010.

Marshall, by the way, also said this past January that Apple's then-upcoming tablet -- what we now know as the iPad -- would utilize Verizon's data network. He even cited sources close to the situation.

"The tablet will be supported by multiple [mobile] carriers," Marshall said. "Definitely Verizon. I've been told that's a certainty."

January 2010: Hang On -- The Verizon iPhone Is Happening This Month!

Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek -- who may or may not now hold the title of "Canaccord Adams mail boy" -- went on the record in January as saying that Apple would be announcing a Verizon iPhone at its mysterious "latest creation" event (which, of course, turned out to be all about the iPad).

"Together with our semi-conductor partners, we have ascertained that there is a reasonable chance the Asian supply chain is prepping for mass production of a new iPhone in March, for availability in late Q2, likely June," Misek stated, as reported by the gang at All Things Digital. "The phone will be carried on Verizon and hence will operate on the CDMA network."


March 2010: OK, That Didn't Work. Let's Try Late 2010 Again.

Our ever-popular "people familiar with matters" piped up again in March, saying that a CDMA-ready version of the iPhone would hit assembly lines in September. Well, all righty, then. It's settled.


May 2010: Maybe It'll Be In Early 2011?

Everyone's favorite analyst, Brian Marshall -- remember, the late-2010-for-iPhone-and-definitely-Verizon-for-iPad guy from above? -- came out of hiding last month to toss yet another bold prediction out into the world.

This time, Marshall said the Verizon iPhone would happen in the first quarter of 2011. He left out words like "certainty" and "definitely" this go-round, though.

What's next -- Marshall making predictions about when he'll next make predictions? Good grief.

Also in May: Verizon's Working on an iPhone Ad Campaign, and AT&T Actually Has the iPhone Till 2012.

Hmm. How about we just say these last two rumors cancel each other out?

In the end, at least you can take comfort in this: The Verizon iPhone, if it actually is happening, is probably still several months away. And that means you have plenty of time to master the magical four-fingered grip you'll need to get the damn thing to work.

JR Raphael is a PCWorld contributing editor and the co-founder of eSarcasm. You can find him on Facebook:

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