Rumor, rumor it's just a rumor. But at least we can play connect the dots while we read tea leaves and listen to my trusted source throw another log onto the Verizon-iPhone-in-January fire.

You know how Verizon went and said they're not launching any Windows Phone 7 devices this year, and "probably" but not definitely will launch one sometime in 2011? That's because Big Red is clearing darn near everything off of their Q1 2011 roadmap to make room for iPhone - at least according to a source of mine in the smartphone and tablet supply chain. 

Yup, just a rumor, and just from one source. So get out your grains of salt, but play along while I attempt to connect the dots in support of the rumor. You know, just for fun.

First, there's the announcement that VZW will launch their LTE network in 30 cities (NFL markets) before 2010 is out. 

Second, there's the fact that VZW CEO Ivan Seidenberg will be delivering the CES Opening Keynote on Thursday morning, January 6, 2011.

Third, Verizon has an invite-only presser scheduled for the afternoon before the big keynote. Yeah, that's stretching it in terms of trying to make a case for a VZWiPhone, but it lends to the sense of drama, no?

Fourth, there's that bit above about any Verizon WP7 phones getting pushed back to sometime in 2011, if at all (though I'm fairly certain they'll be carrying a few sometime next year).

Fifth, there's my source with her/his tip about the VZW Q1 '11 roadmap getting cleared out.

Sixth, there's Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha's statement last night that his company won't be launching any tablets - including the Verizon-bound MZ600 "Stingray" that I swore up and down would be Big Red's Hero product for this Xmas season - until at least early 2011. While Stingray was supposed to knock everyone's socks off with an Android-powered take on what LTE can do and what iPad and other tablets can't, apparently we're going to have to wait on that one just a bit longer.

Seventh, there's Gruber, et al's posts from last month about "N92," which is supposedly Apple's internal codename for the CDMA iPhone that's well into engineering and on track for being production-ready by January. 

Eighth, what better way to sell a ton of iPhones and screw AT&T in the process than by launching the first non-AT&T version for the US market on a brand new LTE network?

So yeah, there's more totally sketchy non-evidence chatter about iPhone coming to Verizon in January. Do with it what you will, including making the arguments about how it'll never happen because Apple would never let a carrier launch an iPhone at a non-Apple event. And the only reason that Stingray thing is being pushed back is because Android 3.0 won't be ready before next year. And how Verizon's recent history messing with the software on Android phones shows that they're not about to become a dumb pipe for anyone. And since Steve Jobs would never let a carrier mess around with his baby's look and feel, that means we'll see a Verizon iPhone the very day that Hell freezes over.

Except, y'know, The Eagles got back together so anything's possible.

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