Sources with knowledge of this entire situation have assured me that Apple has submitted orders for millions of units of Qualcomm CDMA chipsets for a Verizon iPhone run due in December. (quote and image from Techcrunch)
AT&T, the carrier that exclusively sells the iPhone, uses a network based on a chip called GSM for Global System for Mobile Communication. This technology is not compatible with at least two other carriers, Sprint and Verizon. Instead, those two carriers use CDMA technology. CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access.
Everyone assumes that Apple would go with Verizon since it is the larger carrier and therefore offers the highest potential for iPhone sales. Still, it is entirely possible that if Apple is working on a CDMA based iPhone for Sprint due to Verizon’s very aggressive anti-Apple Droid marketing campaign. Techcrunch’s unnamed source does seem to say that a CDMA iPhone will be headed to Verizon.
Steve Cheney from Techcrunch is going on record as saying that he believes there will be a Verizon iPhone in January since the chips ordered from Qualcomm will take until December to get into the manufacturing cycle of the iPhone. As always, we will have to wait to see. But if indeed Apple has ordered millions of CDMA chips, that adds credibility to the rumor that either Sprint or Verizon will be getting the iPhone soon.