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Insiders at Taiwanese phone maker BenQ say that Apple procurement executives have been talking to various Taiwanese phone makers during the past few months in an effort to cut a manufacturing deal on an iPod Phone

They say that Apple will launch an iPod with phone functions within the next few months.  "An iPod phone is definitely coming. BenQ will not be making it as we are in competition with Apple however several of our suppliers have been approached to manufacture parts. Among manufacturers in Taiwan it is common knowledge. The issue for many is the availabilty of parts if the phone takes off" said the BenQ executive.

Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Hon Hai Precision to tipped build the device, says Johnny Chan, a J.P. Morgan analyst based in Hong Kong.  "Apple still hasn't decided whether to give the contract for what's being referred to as an 'iPhone' to Hon Hai or to another manufacturer, says Ellen Tseng, a Morgan Stanley analyst in Taipei. One analyst in Taipei who declined to be identified said Taiwan Green Point Enterprises, which makes plastic cases for the iPod, is in talks with Apple for a role in the phone."

Bill Shope of J.P Morgan believes Apple will introduce the phone by the fourth quarter of this year. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster told clients last week that he estimates there to be a 75% chance that we'll seen an iPhone in the next 12 months.

Analysts believe that if Apple does come out with a music-playing cell phone, it will likely have the biggest impact on Motorola, the leading cell phone maker in the U.S. "Even a modest showing for an Apple multimedia cellphone could put a dent in Motorola's profits," Barron's says. "If Apple were to grab just 1% of the 900 million phones expected to be sold world

Related:

Apple iPhone Concept Pics

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