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Wednesday, February 02, 2011, 05:40 am PT (08:40 am ET)

Verizon customers can preorder iPhone 4 on Thurs., Apple reminds

Apple has reminded the 94 million existing Verizon Wireless customers that they will have an exclusive opportunity to preorder the new iPhone 4 starting Thursday.

Apple issued a press release Wednesday noting that the CDMA variant of the iPhone 4 will be available on Feb. 3 through the Apple online store, as well as Verizon's store at verizonwireless.com/iphone. Orders will be fulfilled on a first come, first served basis "due to high demand," the company noted.

Apple's press release makes no mention of the initial time of availability on Thursday, though Verizon revealed that information over the weekend with a countdown clock on its site. The preorders will begin at 3 a.m. Eastern, midnight Pacific, making sales available to customers of all continental U.S. timezones on the advertised Feb. 3 start date.

On Wednesday, Feb., 9, all qualified customers will be able to order an iPhone 4 on Verizon through the Apple online store for delivery, or reserve for in-store pick-up beginning Feb. 10.

The Verizon iPhone will be available to all qualified customers at 7 a.m. local time on Thursday, Feb. 10. The new CDMA handset will also be available at more than 2,000 Verizon Wireless Communication Stores across the U.S.

Verizon held a press conference in January to announce that it had secured a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone 4. Apple is building a new version of the handset with a CDMA radio inside, making the phone compatible with Verizon, the largest wireless provider in the U.S.

Apple has steadily prepared for the launch of the Verizon iPhone 4, with an iTunes update and iOS software download released for compatibility with the new device. For its part, Verizon has said that it is prepared for the iPhone 4 launch, and believes its network will be able to handle an influx of new smartphone owners.