Apple shares climbed to $48.80 on talk of the iTunes phone yesterday.

The share gains - representing a five per cent gain in value during the day - are directly-related to Apple's publicized announcement tonight.

Wall Street remains Apple-focused with eighteen analysts now rating Apple's stock as a buy, Bloomberg reports, adding "up from ten analysts in December".

Alex Motola Thornberg Investment Management fund manager Alex Motola said: "With Apple, you are not just buying a product, but a history of innovations. The dominance of the iPod is an added bonus.''

The report adds that Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster still believes Apple may also update its iPod mini and iPod shuffle ranges. Numerous reports continue to predict a video-enabled iPod. He also expects Apple to produce its own mobile handset within 18 months, rather than working with existing partner, Motorola.

In other segments, analysts noted a relative slowdown in Apple's notebook sales, calling the present range a "little old".