“For several years now, an elite squad of engineers at Apple Computer have been working diligently to perfect an intuitive smart phone concept that would both conform to the company’s integrated model and oblige chief executive Steve Jobs,” Kasper Jade and Prince McLean report for AppleInsider.

“As AppleInsider has been told, it’s the latter of those two feats that has thus far presented the utmost of challenges, largely preserving the project and its many facets behind the fortified walls of the company’s Cupertino, Calif. home base,” Jade and McLean report.

“It’s believed that the initiative, which is different and slightly more ambitious than the company’s ‘iPhone’ project, truly gained momentum about three years ago alongside the development of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Some of the device’s original features, such as Bluetooth remote control of certain Mac OS X functions, were meant to coincide with those that would have subsequently appeared in the final version of the Tiger operating system,” Jade and McLean report.

Jade and McLean report, “People familiar with ensuing talks say the ‘real push’ behind the device was its extensive integration with Mac OS X and the Macintosh platform. Apple is said to have demonstrated several features that called upon a still unreleased version of the company’s .Mac internet services that would allow users to control certain Mac functions remotely. These included beaming contacts, tasks and calendar appointments to Address Book and iCal from remote locations. However, the Mac maker remained mum on whether it planned to release Windows compatible versions of those desktop applications.”

Much more, including info regarding full integration with iChat, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Rainy Day” and “LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]
According to rumors, there are two Apple phones: Apple’s slim phone (“iPhone”) which is expected to be available for sale late in the first quarter of next year or early in the second quarter and the phone discussed in the above AppleInsider article: a smartphone to follow in the third quarter of 2007.

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