"According to DigiTimes, "sources from component makers" say that Pegatron has been stumbling recently"
Pegatron was only recently spun off from Asus (Both names comes from Pegasus) how would it be stumbling ? It's only starting.
It's time to launch a swarm Verizon iPhone rumors again - then swat them down. The market-watchers at DigiTimes report that orders for 10 million CDMA iPhones have been received by Pegatron, a prominent Taiwanese design and manufacturing company. According to DigiTimes, "sources from component makers" say that Pegatron has …
Any LTE phone coming out for Verizon this or next year will need to be able to fall back on CDMA whenever LTE coverage is not available (which will probably be more than half of the time). Verizon have said that they will reach 100 % LTE coverage only by the end of 2013. Therefore, a good time for Apple to introduce a CDMA-free iPhone on Verizon would be Christmas 2013 or Summer 2014, not earlier.
I can't imagine they would wait that long though, seeing how Android broke through in the US over the last 6 months thanks to Verizon's 100 million Dollar ad campaign and and AT&T's suffering reputation.
As you've said, Verizon is the largest US carrier. AT&T, being number 2, is selling about 3 million iPhones per quarter right now. If Apple offered a CDMA iPhone this fall, Verizon would easily be able to sell those 10 million units mentioned by DigiTimes between September/October 2010 and June 2011 (when the next gen iPhone would presumably follow).
Your idea that a low-end iPhone must surely be CDMA+GSM doesn't make sense to me. Such an unusual construction would most likely be costly, add weight and volume and strain the battery. Why would Apple prepare such an absolute niche config for a low-price, high-volume version of the iPhone? How would it help them?
Better to make 2 different models. Or even 3, in the case of China Unicom's TD-SCDMA standard–as long as order figures a big enough for each individual model. Apple has been known to produce a slighty tweaked WiFi-less iPhone version for China Mobile that sold about 250k, 500k or so by now. They would surely put a completely new radio into the iPhone if Verizon orders millions and millions of units.
That CDMA iPhone prototypes have existed in Apple's labs since 2007, that I have no doubt about. This is, after all, the company that had secretly kept Intel versions of Mac OS X under development for a decade before they finally flipped the switch in 2006.