This is one Apple rumor that refuses to lay down and die
Despite all the reasons against it -- see my CNNMoney colleague David Goldman's Don't Count on a Verizon iPhone for an enumeration -- there is a minority of Apple (aapl) watchers who believe AT&T's (t) cozy run as the iPhone's exclusive U.S. carrier will expire before the end of this year.
One of them is Rodman & Renshaw's Ashok Kumar. "Verizon launch on track for the holidays," he proclaims in a note to clients issued Friday.
"With FCC certification behind," he writes, "the primary gating factor remains the terms of engagement with Verizon (vz). Supply chain checks indicate that Apple will launch the product in time for the holidays."
FCC certification for a CDMA iPhone? That's the first we've heard, and nothing resembling it showed up in the FCC public database.
Be that as it may, Apple is becoming increasingly carrier agnostic, as Kumar suggests, which is helping drive unit sales. His supply chain sources suggest that iPhone quarterly production volumes could approach 15 million units in September and, if he's right about the Verizon deal, reach 17 million by the end of December.
In other Apple news, Kumar says the iPad's production problems are behind it and that the tablet computer Intel (intc) is building for Nokia (nok) is either "a bridge too far" or "too little too late" -- take your pick.
[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]