It appears Apple has run back to long-term iPod chip supplier PortalPlayer for its as-yet-unannounced iPhone.

A report on EETimes claims Portal Player has secured the applications processor win for the new product.

The news follows nVidia's announcement this month that it is to acquire PortalPlayer for $357 million. Nvidia has also seen its own graphics processor designed into next-gen video iPods, which are due to ship "next year", said Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co analyst Chris Caso.

He expects the Nvidia/PortalPlayer combo will accrue $280 million in 2007 as a result of these relationships with Apple, and could draw even further benefit from the relationship in future.

The analyst predicts the iPhone will be announced late in the first quarter of 2007.