While it won’t be of much use for anyone at the moment, you’ll be pleased to know that Apple has now released the iOS firmware that will power the new Verizon iPhone.

Interestingly, the version posted by Apple for the upcoming Verizon iPhone is ahead of the one currently available for GSM units. Designated iOS 4.2.6, we suspect it’s very similar to the currently available version (4.2.1), with the addition of the personal hotspot feature. Most likely, Apple will need to have different versions of iOS for GSM and CDMA phones until the arrival of iOS 4.3 which should put everyone back on the same version number.

Why make it available 10 days ahead of launch? Well, my guess is that Apple and Verizon have already sent out a bunch of review units to selected members of the tech press, who might need the file to restore their phone. For example, you might have noticed how David Pogue of The New York Times reached out to his Twitter followers yesterday to find weak spots in Verizon’s network. I don’t believe this is a coincidence.¬†Anyway, the Verizon iPhone is now right around the corner, with pre-orders opening on Thursday at 3am.