Fortune: Verizon iPhone On Tap For January

To say it's the most anticipated gadget of the year would be selling things short. It's easily the most anticipated of the decade, maybe more. We cannot recall a fantasy gadget that more people have harped on and asked about for a longer period of time, and according to an emerging report from Fortune, it's coming soon. It's the Verizon iPhone, of course.

There have been rumors in the past that an announcement was coming, and for one reason or another, it has never officially come. Many assume that things are constantly being pushed back, with Apple and Verizon going back and forth with one another in an attempt to work out minor control details. Verizon has the power to load their applications onto phones on their network, and it's safe to say that Apple is fighting to change that.

But this report is more serious. Apple and Verizon recently showed an ability to work together by selling an iPad + MiFi bundle. That's largely viewed as the icebreaker. Now the companies have a working relationship, and it's setting the stage for something much larger. Many assumed that Verizon and Apple may be waiting for an LTE network launch before unveiling a 4G iPhone, but that's looking unlikely now. The first Verizon iPhone will probably run on the company's existing 3G network, giving users reason to upgrade soon once an updated version becomes available, likely in 2012 or 2013.

The Fortune report as is pointed as ever. Here's the real important part: "Fortune has confirmed that a Verizon iPhone will be released in early 2011." There's no mincing of words here. That's as direct as you could get, and Fortune isn't a source that tends to take things as important as this lightly.

Verizon's chief is also confident that their network is strong and robust enough to handle the estimate 8 to 10 million new iPhone customers that would flock to Verizon in the first year of availability. And considering how much trouble AT&T has had keeping up, that's a big selling point. Thankfully, January isn't too far away, so we should see if the crystal ball is accurate or not relatively soon.