The iPod could be about to face a serious challenger, the mobile phone, states a UK newspaper.

The Telegraph's Andrew Murray-Watson writes: "A threat to Apple CEO Steve Jobs' supreme mastery of the portable digital music market is gathering strength. In the next half year, a batch of new phones will appear that will make consumers think twice about picking up their iPods on their way out of the door," he predicts.

Customers will have the choice of spending upwards of £300 on an iPod, or a fraction of that sum on a new mobile that can do many more things than Apple's fab device, he notes.

"All of which has led some analysts to believe that Apple, seeing which way the wind is blowing, will begin to focus more on software than hardware and will develop new music products."


But Apple's impact on the industry will continue. Mobile phone network providers who hope to make large amounts of money out of music downloads – as they have out of ringtone sales – will find that the precedent has already been set by Apple, and music lovers will not be swayed.

Ben Wood, the mobile equipment analyst at Gartner told The Telegraph: "Apple has set the paradigm for putting music on mobile devices from a PC. That's how it will probably remain."

"This undermine the hopes of the mobile network operators that customers would spend vastly more with them by downloading music over the airwaves," writes Murray-Watson.