Yet more analysts think Apple will launch an iPod phone this year.

Last week Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster told clients that he thinks the company is "75 per cent likely" to release such a devicce in the next 12 months.

This week, Barron's Online is citing two Morgan Stanley analysts who also claim Apple is building "an iPod with phone functions".

Analyst Johnny Chan thinks Apple may employ Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision to build such a device, though Green Point Enterprises is also named as a possible manufacturer.

It's thought Apple may reveal such a device in order to stave off the impending threat of mobile phone music services, tied with new high-capacity mobile phones, such as the 8GB Sony Erricsson Walkman phone.

Analysts consider that if Apple "does it right", its new product could be a "category-killer".