AUTHOR: Matt Dickman TITLE: Apple iPhone more than a rumor, challenge for Apple begins DATE: 8/02/2006 04:44:00 PM ----- BODY:

Apple's 'iPhone' (we'll call it that for lack of a better name) was recently confirmed by CFO Peter Oppenheimer in a conference call. His confirmation paired with alleged phone-related programming calls in an iTunes update are leading many to believe that Apple could introduce a phone/MP3 device this year.

If they do release such a device it is sure to be a huge hit. It would no doubt carry through with Apple's unique design, would be intuitive to use and probably retain familiar iPod-like controls for digital music. It should wirelessly connect to the Tunes Music Store and have other cool features like BlueTooth and WiFi. Millions of Apple faithful would surely flock to stores in desperate need to obtain one (myself included). Having THE mp3 player with a great phone all wrapped in one smooth translucent white/chrome casing would just be too much to pass up.

Apple has never been in the phone business before (outside of a mediocre partnership with Motorola on the Rokr phone) and that is where their challenge starts. Making sure the phone is carried on the major networks will be crucial to achieving iPodesque ubiquity. Will the carriers participate and can Apple knock off popular phones like the Razr? What other features will be onboard when it is released? Camera, browser, mini-OSX (please learn from Microsoft and don't miniaturize the OS, it's really poor for phone use).

We'll have to hold our breathe and see what happens. Apple's WWDC is next week and this is still a possible candidate for release (although a very outside candidate).

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