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Verizon iPhone seen as 'unlikely' from Apple in 2010

Despite a new claim that Apple is working on a CDMA-capable iPhone for the Verizon network in the U.S., one prominent analyst has said such a move is "unlikely" to happen this year.

In his latest note to investors issued on Tuesday, analyst Maynard J. Um with UBS Investment Research acknowledged a report from The Wall Street Journal on Monday, which said Apple is working on two new iPhones, including one for the Verizon network. Sources told the paper that CDMA iPhones are not scheduled to go into mass production until September.

But Um said a Verizon launch probably won't happen this year. Instead, a CDMA phone could be launched with other carriers, such as China Telecom and KDDI of Japan.

As it has done every year, Apple will introduce a new iPhone model this summer. Um said checks with industry sources indicate the next-generation model could feature a touch panel on the back of the phone, which would allow touch capabilities on both sides of the device. The new iPhone could also offer high definition video playback and recording with a 5 megapixel camera, 64GB of NAND flash storage, increased battery life, an AMOLED screen and new applications.

The analyst also expects the new iPhones to be priced the same as the current iPhone 3GS offerings, at $199 and $299. The current iPhone 3GS is also expected to drop to $99 and replace the existing iPhone 3G at that price point.

UBS has maintained its 12-month price target of $280 for AAPL stock, and maintained its "buy" recommendation for investors.

Separately, analyst Mike Abramsky with RBC Capital Markets issued a note Tuesday noting that a subsidized iPhone on the Verizon network would add 5 million to 6 million units of sales in the first year, or an estimated $3.6 billion in revenue and 75 cents earnings per share for Apple. But he also, like Um, added that a CDMA iPhone may first be targeted at China Telecom or KDDI before Verizon

Abramsky believes Apple's second phone reported by the Journal is likely a smaller iPhone with a retail price ranging from free to $99 subsidized. The analyst expects Apple to sell 2 million entry-level iPhones in its 2010 fiscal year, and another 12 million in 2011.

"The entry-level iPhone may lack the faster processor, larger NAND memory, higher resolution screen, front-facing video camera and other features of the premium iPhone," Abramsky wrote.

After the Journal story broke Monday evening, a number of other rumors about the next-generation iPhone surfaced. Daring Fireball's John Gruber issued a report stating the new handset will have an Apple A4 processor, a custom-built system-on-a-chip like is in the forthcoming iPad, as well as a 960x640 double-resolution display and a second, front-facing camera.

Gruber also reiterated information first reported by AppleInsider earlier this month, that Apple's iPhone OS 4.0 software will add multitasking support for third-party applications.

Separately Monday, Engadget also received an anonymous tip that the fourth-generation iPhone would be dubbed the 'iPhone HD," and would be announced on Tuesday, June 22. Previous speculation had pegged a possible iPhone announcement and Worldwide Developers Conference 2010 from June 28 through July 2.