NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Verizon ( VZ) iPhone rumor mill is alive and well -- again. According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple ( AAPL) will start mass-producing an iPhone that can run on Verizon's network later this year. Citing people briefed by Apple, the Journal reports that this CDMA version of the phone will have a similar design to the existing iPhone. As reported by TheStreet earlier this year, the device contains a Qualcomm ( QCOM) chip and is expected to make its debut in the first quarter of 2011. Apple is also building a new, fifth-generation iPhone, although it is unclear when Verizon will start selling the device.
Apple has had an exclusive U.S. relationship with AT&T ( T) to sell the iPhone since the smartphone's launch in 2007, although talk of an iPhone selling at the nation's no. 1 wireless shop has ebbed over the past few years. Following Verizon chief Ivan Seidenberg's recent comments that a Verizon iPhone might be a more realistic option when the company gets closer to completing its 4G network in 2012, there's been chatter around Verizon selling a 3G iPad next year. Apple, which faces fierce competition from Google's ( GOOG) Android operating system, recently opened up another front in the smartphone war, launching its new iPhone 4 in China. Despite some much-publicized antenna problems, Apple has described the iPhone 4 as its most successful launch ever and has already sold more than 3 million of the new phones. The tech giant's shares dipped $1.17 to $287.76 on Wednesday as the Nasdaq slipped 0.96%. --Written by James Rogers in New York. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.