A new report claims Apple has informed its retail employees of a vacation “blackout” that will begin later this month. Citing unnamed people familiar with Apple’s retail plans, the report states that Apple is preventing all retail employees without seniority from taking vacation during a three-week period that will commence some time during the last week in January. The report also claims that Apple has retained excess staff hired during the holiday season. While unconfirmed, a vacation freeze of this kind coupled with increased retail staff would likely point to a major product launch, and the timing fits perfectly with rumors that the Verizon iPhone will launch some time between now and mid-February.