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According to Apple Insider, two new iPod–based mobile phones could be released within the next few months, initially in small quantities to test the waters.
Apple appeared to confirm such rumours last month, when they registered the trademark for the name ‘iPhone’ in the US, after months of speculation about the product.
In the trademark application, Apple describes the 'iPhone' as a:
"..handheld and mobile digital electronic device for the sending and receiving of telephone calls, faxes, electronic mail, and other digital data; MP3 and other digital format audio players”
Prudential Equity Group analyst Jesse Tortora predicts the iPhone will be released on a limited basis initially:
"Although these phones represent significant upside earnings potential for the company, there are some concerns regarding market acceptance and battery life, given the number of functions included in the phones.”
"Our checks indicate that Apple will produce these phones in limited quantities initially as a market test vehicle."
The success of Apple's iPod was partly due to the lack of competition at the time, as well as the innovation and quality of its design.
With such a wide variety of mobile phones already available, many of which already have music and video capability, Apple will be entering a crowded market with this new phone. Still, you wouldn't bet against them...