You don't need to be a diehard Apple fan to know that the iPhone is hot. Almost any tidbit of news relating to the phone has immediate and widespread distribution, and rumors are constantly being debated on Apple forums and blogs.
Rumors about the iPhone no longer requiring an AT&T contract for operation have been a staple of discussion almost since the device launched in 2007. They appeal to people who either are unhappy with AT&T's services, think the AT&T/Apple deal is anti-competitive or are locked into a long-term contract with another carrier. Tales of a Verizon iPhone coming in 2009 have been among the quickest to spread. Even old rumors that somehow cycle back into current RSS feeds spark another round of reporting, rumors and hoopla.