Exclusive: Is This Leaked Pic The Verizon IPhone 4 — With 4G (LTE)??

An anonymous source has just given us an interesting nugget: A photo of what looks like the Verizon iPhone. And that’s not all — check out the upper left corner. See what it says there? That’s right, “Verizon LTE.” In other words, this looks like it could be a Verizon iPhone that supports the carrier’s 4G network.

Unlike previous fuzzy or out-of-focus leaked pics, this is an extremely clear image. But is it real? Well, we asked the tipster where the photo came from. He wouldn’t say specifically, but he did mention that the MacBook in the background belongs to a Verizon engineer in the Pacific Northwest region and that the handset is running iOS 4.2.

One aspect of this photo is the exterior of the device. The sides of the phone look dark to our eyes, not completely metallic like the current iPhone 4. (Edit: It could be a shadow casting, as some readers have suggested, but it’s hard to tell.

Take a look and tell us what you think.) If it is indeed different, it could suggest a different fabrication, either layered on top of the metal banding or used instead of it. Given the existing phone’s signal attenuation woes, it’s not hard to imagine that they’d revamp that.

As far as I can tell, the pic hasn’t been messed with. Then again, I’m admittedly not a Photoshop expert. (If you are, please weigh in here.)

So what do you think? Real or fake? And if it’s real, what could this mean? That the iPhone 4 isn’t landing on Verizon right away, but waiting until the carrier’s 4G/LTE network is more established? Or that this 4G handset may later join a previously released, 3G-compatible ViPhone, planned for early 2011? Join the theory thread, and leave your impressions below.

And if there’s any more clarification on this, you’ll know as soon as we do.

ADDITION 1: Are you a Photoshop nerd? Check this out: We looked at the levels, curves and other settings, and didn’t see a thing altered. What else would you check out for authenticity? If you’ve got thoughts on this, be sure to leave your suggestion in the comments.

ADDITION 2: As some users have pointed out, jailbreakers can change the top banner text with apps like MakeItMine. Good call. Keep the debunking coming.

ADDITION 3: The tipster says that the person who originated this pic is “currently working on trying to obtain some more images off the hard drive that may include some other shots including [settings]…” When or if that happens, we’ll follow this up. For now, though, take all this with a grain of salt.

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