The wait is finally over for the Verizon Wireless iPhone. Starting Thursday, Verizon's version of the iPhone 4 will be available in retail stores.

Apple and Verizon Wireless stores, along with Best Buy and selected Wal-Mart stores, will start selling the Verizon iPhones at 7 a.m. local time. And even with a high of 28 degrees forecast for New York City, eager iPhone fans are expected to line up around the block at stores throughout the city.

It's unclear how many iPhones will be available on Thursday. Apple and Verizon quickly sold out of the initial batch of iPhones that were made available through a presale to Verizon customers last week. In fact, Verizon said that demand for the iPhone 4 surpassed any other previous smartphone launch on its network, including the hotly anticipated Motorola Droid and Droid X, as well as the HTC Incredible.

In an effort to move the sales process along more quickly, Apple has been taking online reservations for customers buying the phone in its retail stores. Customers with reservations can pick up their reserved iPhones after noon in Apple stores.

But some people, of course, just like the thrill of waiting in line. That's why CNET is sending out a crew of reporters and photographers to document this momentous launch. I'll be on location at the Apple cube on Fifth Avenue in New York City updating a blog with pictures and snippets from the crowd. I'll also be in front of the camera putting together a story for CNET TV.

My CNET colleague Daniel Terdiman will also be contributing to the blog from the West Coast, where he will provide commentary from the Apple scene in San Francisco. For the latest news and pictures from the Verizon iPhone launch, bookmark this page and be sure to check back early Thursday morning and throughout the day.

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