Apple is continuing its discussions with European mobile networks in its search for a suitable partner for the launch of the iPhone here.

The new mulitmedia-savvy handset is due to reach the US in June, and to ship in Europe later in the year.

Speculation exists that the European version may feature 3G support, which is lacking in the currently-announced iPhone for the US market.

A report claims several leading European firms are in discussion with Apple to secure the launch, with Vodafone at present seen as the "early front runner". Apple is at present seeking a single partner for the whole of Europe, the report claims.

Google is also in talks with operators, but recently denied that it has plans to launch its own mobile handset. Google's South-East Asia managing director of sales and operations, Richard Kimber, said: "At this point in time, we are very focused on the software, not the phone."