iTunes Phone Due Within Months

Motorola CEO Ed Zander said in a conference call with analysts that the much anticipated -- and oft delayed -- iTunes-enabled phone "will be coming out in the next few months." A Motorola representative later confirmed that the phone is due to be released in the first half of this year.

Questions have arisen over the past few days regarding what carriers will offer the phone to customers. According to BusinessWeek, Verizon, Sprint and Cingular have all passed on the iTunes phone. That leaves Nextel and T-Mobile as the only two remaining major U.S. wireless players.

Insiders told Mac enthusiast site AppleInsider earlier this week that T-Mobile is most likely to carry the phone and direct customers to Apple's iTunes Music Store, rather than develop its own competing store.

The sticking point for many carriers is the way in which consumers will obtain songs to put on the device. The current specifications of the phone apparently would allow for customers to use Apple's iTunes software to download songs, bypassing the wireless network.

While carriers have balked at such a situation, a source close to Apple said that operators are "simply being unrealistic" if they think that consumers will spend up to $3 to download songs to their phone, especially if the songs cannot be transferred to the user's computer or MP3 player.

As of right now, Motorola is the only company that has a license to use iTunes software in its products.

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