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Apple Handheld/Phone Making the Rounds?

eWeek provides a brief overview the current handheld leaders... including products Sony, PalmOne, RIM, and HP.



Each with its own strengths... but the author, Rob Enderle, notes that the market isn't locked up, and offers a tantalizing tidbit:



    ...and I've heard of an Apple prototype making the rounds in Silicon Valley. ... I'm hoping for a surprise next year.



Rumors of an Apple branded Handheld/PDA have been ongoing for years... despite ongoing denials by Steve Jobs that such a product is in the works at Apple.



In past interviews, Jobs has stated that they felt PDAs would eventually evolve into next generation Cell Phones and that they did not feel they could add much value to current cell phones.



Recent unconfirmed whispers, however, have indicated that Apple has been actively developing at least two phone-based products in their labs: One being an Apple-based phone which Apple has been working on alongside with Nokia. The second being an next generation iPod with built-in phone features. One major feature is reportedly the ability to log into users' machines via a "thin client" to allow for a degree of location-independent workflow. When or if these devices will eventually make their way to market is unclear.



Also unclear is whether or not these rumored phone devices necessarily are related to the Apple prototype handheld that is rumored to be making the rounds in Silicon Valley.