“As more cell phone makers launch handsets that also play music, Apple Computer looks poised to defend its turf by going on the offensive with an iPod music player capable of making phone calls,” Patrick Seitz reports for Investor’s Business Daily.

“Until Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs unveils one on stage at a press event or tech conference — possibly Jan. 9 at Macworld in San Francisco — the iPhone will remain speculation,” Seitz reports.

“‘It makes sense for Apple to come out with an iPhone,’ said Kevin Burden, an analyst with telecom research firm Telephia. ‘With mobile phones becoming pretty good media players themselves, they’re already starting to cannibalize the MP3 player market a little bit, and it’s only going to accelerate,'” Seitz reports.

“If Apple can get even 1% or 2% of the estimated 1 billion cell phones that are sold next year it would be a huge positive, said Richard Stice, an analyst with Standard & Poor’s,” Seitz reports. “A true blockbuster could do far better. Motorola in July said it had sold 50 million of its ultra-sleek Razr handsets. Other analysts said an iPhone business is nothing to cheer about. ‘The economics of something like that aren’t that compelling,’ said Morningstar analyst Rod Bare.”

“Just look at Walt Disney’s failed ESPN Mobile venture, Bare said. Like Apple, the sports network has a strong brand and fanatical audience. But ESPN couldn’t make its mobile phone and service a success. Critics said ESPN’s service was overpriced and the one phone it offered wasn’t very appealing,” Seitz reports. “Don’t expect Apple to make the same mistakes.”

“‘Every time they come out with something, it’s eye-opening and it tends to send the market in a slightly different direction — which is to follow,’ Telephia’s Burden said,” Seitz reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If and when Apple releases the product and reveals sales figures, we will certainly revisit Rod Bare’s ‘iPhone’ comment: “The economics of something like that aren’t that compelling.”

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