New Verizon iPhone Launch Rumors Swirl

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Two new rumored dates regarding the Verizon ( VZ) iPhone hit Friday, sending Apple ( AAPL) shares to close at a new high of $336.12.

Early in the day, a report from blog Boy Genius Report pegged Thursday, Feb. 3 as the phone's debut, saying that "a source close to Apple" confirmed that it had instituted a company-wide blackout date for employee vacation requests between Feb. 3 - Feb. 6, which could suggest a product launch.

Later in the afternoon, a blog post from All Things Digital showed a press invite for a Jan. 11 event from Verizon, which will be held at 11 a.m. at a swanky Lincoln Center venue in New York City. The invite offers no other details.

Chatter around the blogosphere speculated that Apple CEO Steve Jobs could very well join Verizon's Lowell McAdam at the New York event next week, but no one really knows.

Tech analysts have generally agreed that the "momentous occasion" will occur sometime this quarter, citing a series of supply-chain partner evidence like updates on the readying of a CDMA version of the iPhone and Verizon's 4G LTE network rollout, which started last month.

In December, analysts started offering the first Verizon iPhone sales estimates.

Surmising about the iPhone's arrival at the nation's largest wireless shop is nothing new. Last week, a Bloomberg BusinessWeek report hinted that the Verizon iPhone would hit by Valentine's Day.

What we do know is that the Verizon iPhone wasn't announced at CES. Instead, Verizon introduced a pile of sophisticated 4G-equipped gear from other OEMs like Motorola ( MMI) and HTC, but didn't release any launch dates for those products.

It's also worth noting that AT&T ( T) considerably beefed up its Google ( GOOG) Android OS offerings for this year, perhaps in preparation of losing the exclusive rights to sell the iPhone.

--Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

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