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Friday, October 08, 2010, 07:20 pm PT (10:20 pm ET)

NYT: Verizon iPhone coming early next year

The New York Times is reporting that Apple and Verizon will begin selling a version of the iPhone 4 early next year, echoing earlier reports from The Wall Street Journal and Wall Street analysts.

An anonymous source "in direct contact with Apple" told the Times this week that Apple is readying a version of the iPhone 4 for Verizon's network for an early 2011 release.

The long-rumored Verizon iPhone "could significantly alter the dynamics of the smartphone market in the United States," wrote author Miguel Helft. Though Google's Android mobile OS now outsells the iPhone, Helft notes that a deal between Apple and Verizon "could quickly tilt the marketplace back in Apple's favor."

According to the report, numerous surveys show that "many owners" of Android handsets would switch to an iPhone if it was offered on Verizon's network. The Verizon iPhone "is going to have a fairly disruptive impact when it lands," the paper quoted Needham & Company analyst Charles Wolf as saying.

The report references The Wall Street Journal's Wednesday story as part of "the flurry of reports" predicting a Verizon iPhone. Rumors of a Verizon iPhone have persisted for over a year, coming to a head this week with coverage by both the Times and the Journal.

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are both widely respected publications, but as recently as this summer, their Apple sources have been off the mark. On the eve of the "Antennagate" press conference in July, Helft authored a Times report, citing a source with "direct knowledge" of the iPhone 4 antenna problem. The source asserted that the iPhone antenna problem was a software issue that could "presumably be fixed with a software update."

Also prior to the iPhone 4 antenna press conference, the Journal's sources claimed that Apple engineers had known of the problem for almost a year. Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs denied those claims at the press conference, saying the company had only learned of the problem 22 days earlier.