The possibility of a Verizon-based Apple iPhone now seems more likely, as reports indicate that the 5th generation iPhone won't come equipped with the typical Infineon baseband chipset, but rather ones provided by Qualcomm.
Apple's relationship with Qualcomm isn't really new. We reported last month that Apple submitted a run for over a million units of Qualcomm's CDMA chipsets for a CDMA version of the iPhone 4. This could still be possible, resulting in an iPhone 4GS if Apple continues its current release pattern.
However new reports indicate that a mixed-mode Qualcomm chipset--apparently first announced last year--will connect to multiple networks--LTE, CDMA/EV-DO and GSM/UMTS. This would mean that Apple wouldn't need to create a standalone CDMA model for Verizon, but rather release a next-generation device that can be used on any 3G and 4G wireless network around the world.
The mixed-mode Qualcomm chipset became available for prototyping in mid-2010--possibly released too late for Apple to incorporate into the next version of the iPhone. As it stands, it's speculated that Apple may move forward with the CDMA-equipped iPhone 4GS for a June 2011 release, and use the new Qualcomm chipset for a June 2012 iPhone 5 release.
Then again, the iPhone is locked in AT&T's clutches until 2012. Releasing a CDMA iPhone before then means that Verizon subscribers may be required to purchase the device from Apple or some other outlet other than Verizon. Even if AT&T's deal ends at 11:59pm on December 31, 2011, this CDMA model still gives Verizon a 6-month window to legally sell the proposed iPhone 4GS until iPhone 5 hits the streets.
Apple originally revealed the first iPhone back in January 2007 and then released it on the market later in June. The next iPhone model--the 3G--went on sale in June 2008 after it was revealed at WWDC 2008. Apple has followed the same pattern with the next two iPhone models, announcing the 3GS at WWDC 2009 and the iPhone 4 at WWDC 2010.
Based on Apple's previous history, Steve Jobs seems to prefer revealing new products in January. This began with the reveal of the original iPhone and was followed up with the introduction of the iPad in January 2010.