Apple has signed-up its first component suppliers for its next-generation iPhone and will release a 3G model of the device by the middle of the year, an analyst firm confirmed this morning.

Analysts at UBS report Apple to have reached a deal with Infineon Technologies to supply some components for the new device.

The report informs UBS analysts believe a 3G model of the device will be released "by mid-year". The analysts also report that production of the current EDGE-based iPhone is being reduced earlier than expected in order to clear inventories, making way for the launch of the new model.

Analysts are also speculating on what news Apple will offer enterprise users during next weeks iPhone special event.

"Apple has acknowledged that there has been great interest in the enterprise community for the iPhone," Tim Bajarin, principal analyst of Creative Strategies, explained. "There's no question it has great potential in enterprise given the right application."

The company is clearly making major investments in the device, and in the development of its iPod touch as the first in a family of mass market wireless mobile devices.

A Morgan Stanley report this week points out that Apple CEO Steve Jobs engaged in much travel in the last quarter of 2007, with the cost of his jet (which Apple pays) tripling to $550,000.

More importantly, that report confirms research and development pending at Apple increased 34 per cent, year-on-year. The analysts suggest this as potential evidence of more iPhone development and Jobs' key involvement in arranging new deals with mobile networks for the extension of the device to other geographies.