Is iPhone next for Apple?
Now that Apple Computer Inc. has helped to deliver a cellular phone that plays music like an iPod, in partnership with Motorola, analysts are speculating that the company may go a step further and introduce its own cellphone iPod combination.
Dubbed the "iPhone," such a device would most likely be made by a contract electronics manufacturer.
First, though, analysts say Apple will want to see how well the Motorola phone does.
"Given Apple just did this with Motorola and Cingular, I can't see anything short term," said Tim Bajarin, an analyst with market research firm Creative Strategies. "They have to let this thing play out and see if the Motorola phone can be successful on its own."
Last week Apple announced the Rokr phone, made by Motorola, which plays up to 100 songs downloaded off of iTunes but looks more like a cell phone than a digital music player.
An iPhone, on the other hand, would likely look more like one of Apple's signature white iPods, perhaps including Apple's well-known "click wheel" to navigate through the phone's functions.
It would also be a true iPod, holding hold thousands of songs and photographs.
The cellphone market is enticing: More than 750 million cellphone are expected to be sold worldwide this year, compared with a forecast of 57 million digital music players.
But perhaps the most telling indication of Apple's intentions is a Web site, iphone.org, which has been registered by Apple and currently redirects visitors to Apple's own home page.