Apple's iPod is likely to survive the onslaught of MP3-enabled mobile phones because it is "the tech world's best consumer brand".

Competing with the iPod's design and function will be a "big challenge" for the mobile phone operators, states the The Wall Street Journal.

"Design wise, many mobile-phones are a lot like icebergs: one function obvious, the rest submerged and navigable only by the brave. It's a big leap of faith to think handset makers can approach the iPod's ease of use with a jack-of-all-trades device. Apple's competitors haven't managed it with their standalone devices, and they've had years to try," write reporters Tim Hanrahan and Jason Fry.

The report also notes: "Mobile-phones command little brand loyalty, with users switching willy-nilly as service agreements end and phones die."

There are also questions about how music will be transferred to the mobile-phone. "Could you transfer music to a PC? Back it up on a CD-ROM? Restore it if the phone is lost? Reclaim it if you get a new phone?" asks the report, suggesting that consumers will be sceptical and that it is likely that they will prefer to transfer songs from their PC rather than download from the mobile-phone networks, as no doubt the carriers hope they will do.