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Varying accounts report modest lines for Apple's Verizon iPhone 4

Lines of customers looking to buy Apple's new Verizon iPhone 4 were contrastingly profiled as either noteworthy or "laughably short," but a smattering of anecdotal reports largely suggest smaller crowds than for the debut of the iPhone 4 last year.

Lines for the highly anticipated handset may have been shortened by the fact that the Verizon iPhone 4 is, aside from its internal CDMA radio, the same phone that was released last year on AT&T's network. There's also the fact that Apple and Verizon took preorders from existing customers a week ago, and allowed online ordering for the masses on Wednesday.

And then there is the extremely cold weather currently in many cities, as noted by Dan Frommer of Silicon Alley Insider. He also portrayed some of the lines for the Verizon iPhone 4 as "laughably short."

Similarly, a story by CNN declared that "few customers" were in line for the Verizon iPhone. It noted that eight people were in line at Apple's flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York City, while down the street about a dozen people waited at a Verizon Wireless store.

But while lines were short on Fifth Avenue, The Wall Street Journal noted they were much longer in other locations. For example, about 40 people were outside of a Verizon Wireless store in Hoboken, N.J.

A line of about 20 customers stands outsize Louisville, Ken., Verizon store Thursday morning. Photo via Flickr user jasonhiner.

Of course, initial lines for a product are not necessarily a great indicator of success. Last April, The Wall Street Journal characterized lines for the iPad launch as "thin." Apple's touchscreen tablet went on to have a strong launch and sales hit a million in less than a month.

Expectations for the Verizon iPhone are high, as Apple's best-selling handset is now available on a carrier other than AT&T in the U.S. for the first time. Analyst Mike Abramsky with RBC Capital Markets has forecast that more than a million Verizon iPhone 4 handsets will be sold in the first week.