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WSJ: Apple to build Verizon-compatible CDMA iPhone by year end

Apple plans to begin mass production of a new Verizon-compatible iPhone by the end of 2010, allowing the largest carrier in the U.S. to launch the handset by early next year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The paper reported on Wednesday that people briefed by Apple said the handset would have the same design as the current iPhone 4. But inside, the device is said to contain a CDMA chipset that would be compatible with Verizon's network.

The report claimed that the new CDMA iPhone will feature a chip from Qualcomm. It was said the device will launch in the first quarter of 2011.

Qualcomm's alleged involvement would confirm a report from late September which indicated the chipmaker was partnering with Apple for a CDMA iPhone. The current GSM iPhone uses UMTS/HSPA+ technology which is not compatible with Verizon.

Sources also indicated to the paper that Apple is also working on a fifth-generation iPhone that will contain a "different form factor from those that are currently available." No other information, including a potential release date, was given.

The report comes just as one analyst revealed that sources within Apple's overseas suppliers indicated the Cupertino, Calif., company plans to launch new phones with both larger and smaller screen sizes as soon as early 2011. It was suggested that Apple is looking to expand the iPhone line to offer different caliber products, much like it has done with the iPod brand.

Rumors of a Verizon iPhone have existed since the handset was first announced. In the U.S., it remains exclusive to carrier AT&T.

Those rumors largely died down in 2010 until March, when the Journal reported that Apple was working on a Verizon-compatible iPhone. Since then, numerous reports have pointed toward a January 2011 launch for the device.

It has even been said that the CDMA iPhone has been in testing at Apple for months, and in August the device, reportedly code-named N92, was said to be just two steps away from production status.