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Apple iFone almost ready?

The rumour mill is grinding again and the internet is abuzz with speculation that the unveiling of Apple’s long awaited iPod phone, or iFone, is imminent.

What we know is that Apple has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday September 12 in London, with similar events presumably taking place around the world. The topic of the event is unknown but coincidentally, September 12 is the same day that the CTIA Wireless & Entertainment 2006 exhibition kicks off in Los Angeles.

US analyst firm American Technology Research (ATR) has thrown plenty of fuel on the fire in the past few days and if analyst Shaw Wu is correct, Apple has finalised product design for the device and brought it through to prototype stage.

In launching the device, Apple could take one of two roads to market. The company could pursue an MVNO agreement with a wireless carrier and introduce the phone with an assortment of branded services, or it sell the device direct to consumers, either independently or in conjunction with operators.

ATP also believes that Apple has enough clout to steal a one per cent share of the 1 billion unit global handset market, equivalent to $2bn (£1bn).

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