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by Mike Zazaian October 17, 2006 - 1:59pm, 7 Comments

A spy shot of an unconfirmed iPhone prototype

A recent trademark filing by Apple for the iPhone moniker all but solidifies that a mobile mp3-media-gaming-wifi-everything phone could be announced as early as January.

According to sources familiar with the project, Apple has been in development of a couple iPhone models over the past year or so, but significant technological hurdles have set the project back. Despite analyst predictions that as many as three iPhone models would hit shelves by March of 2006, the production process has now been pushed back to the point that Apple filed a trademark for the iPhone at a Far Eastern trademark office only last month. According to the trademark documentation, which was filed on September 15th, the iPhone lineup will encompass, handheld and mobile digital electronic devices for the sending and receiving of telephone calls, faxes, electronic mail, and other digital data; MP3 and other digital format audio players.

In addition to basically covering every base in modern digital communications, the iPhone will have some sort of WiFi capability, as described by a passage in the trademark documentation:

…electronic handheld units for the wireless receipt and/or transmission of data that enable the user to keep track of or manage personal information…software for the redirection of messages, Internet e-mail, and/or other data to one or more electronic handheld devices from a data store on or associated with a personal computer or a server; and software for the synchronization of data between a remote station or device and a fixed or remote station or device.

From the wording in the trademark, it also seems that the iPhone will allow users to access a personal computer, possibly allowing remote usage and file access. But with even a handful of the listed features the iPhone is going to be the be-all end-all of mobile media communications devices. Apple has built such a strong pedigree in the mobile media device market with its iPod, such substantial trust and awe from consumers, that the iPhone, as all Apple products, should become a media juggernaut shortly after its launch.

In addition to the trademark filing, industry analysts also believe that the iPhone is well on its way. According to Shaw Wu, an analyst with American Technology Research, the iPhone will be based on the candy-bar-like iPod Nano form factor, and will be available in as many as three colors. Wu added:

Our research indicates that an Apple-designed smart phone has moved from concept to prototype and recently has progressed to near completion as a production unit. We believe this smart phone has been in development for over 12 months and has overcome substantial challenges including design, interference, battery life and other technical glitches.

Analysts also the iPhone should be announced, if not made available early in Q1 2007. Said Jesse Tortora, an analyst with the Prudential Equity Group, We believe the company could introduce the phones at its MacWorld Conference in January.

[via AppleInsider]