On the heels of Verizon's announcement of a special press conference on January 11, Boy Genius Report says a source has confirmed that Apple has blacked out retail employee vacation time for February 3 to February 6, covering a possible Verizon iPhone launch weekend.
When I was a manager at an Apple Store here in Portland, this was a fairly common occurrence for big launch days. Generally these employee vacation blackout days would come months in advance, allowing our staff to make plans around those dates.
This of course is only a theory, but in my experience we never had a blacked-out weekend that was not a launch (generally the iPhone or Mac OS X).
The regions of the United States that BGR has knowledge of have all confirmed these dates as blacked out. Verizon is expected to make the big announcement on January 11 (at 11 a.m. no less), most likely confirming they will finally be bringing Apple's iPhone to the vast Verizon network.
The last remaining mystery seems to only be that of specs. Many are hoping for Apple to jump aboard the LTE 4G bandwagon and compete with 4G smartphones running Android, announced at CES. As I, and others, have noted, this is not likely, as Apple's business move to join Verizon would be to gain market share in the rapidly expanding smartphone sector.
Were Apple to limit the Verizon iPhone to LTE customers, it would minimize market penetration and lose out on most of Verizon's subscriber base. Until 4G is more prevalent, Apple will most likely stick to CDMA-based versions of the iPhone. I wouldn't expect an LTE version until 2012 at the earliest.
Are you making plans to line up for Verizon's iPhone? Are you switching from AT&T? Let me know your plans in the comments!