) --


(VZ) - Get Report

is reported to be stocking up on


(AAPL) - Get Report

iPhones ahead of a January launch.

Add this

bit of speculation

, courtesy of


, to the growing mosaic of the

Verizon iPhone

and you might start to get the picture that

Apple and Verizon will have a big New Year's party

in the works.

After more than three years of exclusivity at


(T) - Get Report

, the Apple iPhone is expected to land at Verizon next month. The possibility that Verizon is loading up its stores and warehouses with the iconic device -- something we

first uncovered nearly a year ago

-- probably shouldn't come as too big of a surprise.

Consumers already have altered their smartphone upgrade patterns

in anticipation of the Verizon iPhone

. Smartphone sales have started to wane at Verizon as subscribers, who normally upgrade to new phones at the end of their two-year contracts, have held off on phone purchases at a higher rate than normal, according to industry experts.

The rumor reported by


, attributed to one source, also asserts that the

Verizon iPhone will be a 4G device

. Instead of being just a 3G CDMA device, Apple and Verizon presumably have made the iPhone long-term evolution or LTE ready.

If true, it would certainly fill in the missing piece to

Verizon's recently announced 4G network

launch that conspicuously lacked a 4G phone.

Apple shares hit a new all-time high of $325.06 on Monday as the Verizon iPhone story gains momentum.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.>To contact this writer, click here: Scott Moritz, or email: follow Scott on Twitter, go to>To send a tip, email: