Apple iPhone, Helio and VOIP?
A market research company is (again) predicting that Apple will be entering the cellphone market soon. Visiongain argues that Apple sees the mobile phone market as a threat to its current iPod lead and is taking steps to address this by launching their own cell phone service and phone.
Rumors and speculation of an Apple-branded cell phone have been ongoing for years. Visiongain, however, is matching up Apple with Helio (interview) - an upcoming youth-oriented cell phone operator that operates as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). MVNOs are virtual cell phone providers which lease the wireless intrastructure from existing providers.
The company also suggests that Apple will somehow integrate Voice-over-IP (VOIP) technology into the phone service. This would presumably allow the phone users to talk directly to users of other VOIP internet services (Skype, iChat).
Helio is due to launch this spring, but appears to have its own set of exclusive phones and services.