We've been to this rodeo before (a few times, actually), but the smoke that leads to fire is getting far harder to ignore. Following a Bloomberg report in June that a Verizon iPhone was on track for a January 2011 release as well as independent confirmation from John Gruber, Yukari Iwatani Kane from The Wall Street Journal is now sounding mighty confident that the aforementioned plans are true. According to various people "briefed by Apple," Jobs and Company will begin "mass producing a new iPhone by the end of 2010 that would allow Verizon Wireless to sell the smartphone early next year." It'll rely on a key Qualcomm chip as well as a CDMA radio, but curiously enough, there's nary of a mention of LTE in this report. In closely related news, it's bruited that Apple is also developing a separate iPhone model, though it's unclear how soon VZW will be able to grab the fifth generation edition. 'Course, it's not exactly the shocker of the year to hear that Apple's toiling on a new iPhone without a dubious antenna design, but the real question is this: will the Verizon iPhone beat AT&T's elusive white iPhone 4 to market? Inquiring minds would love to know.

Update: The WSJ udated the story to be more clear, "Apple Inc. is making a version of its iPhone that Verizon Wireless will sell early next year." So it's not just a generic CDMA iPhone that may or may not end up on Verizon Wireless. The WSJ also added that the CDMA iPhone 4 variant will be built by Pegatron and would only work on a CDMA network (i.e., it's not a dual-mode GSM/CDMA device). Also, according to one source, VZW has been working with Apple to test its network and is adding additional capacity to avoid being overwhelmed a la AT&T.