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iPhone, iPod messenger clues in latest iPod software

Overwhelmed with anticipation, some fans of Apple Computer's iPods are ripping through software code to find clues about what the company has planned for the next-generation of the digital music players. And they may have found some answers.

An AppleInsider member by the name of VL-Tone recently dissected the latest iPod firmware update and made some interesting discoveries.

While Apple has been relatively mum on any plans for iPod-branded cell phone, the latest iPod software includes references to an "t_feature_app_PHONE_APP" application and variables such as "kPhoneSignalStrength," "clPhoneCallHistoryModel," prPhoneSettingsMenu," "prPhoneSettingsMenuView," prPhoneEnableSetting" and "prPhoneMenuItem."

The phone references within the iPod software are unlikely in relation to Motorola's iTunes Music phones because those phones do not run the iPod operating system, the member pointed out in his analysis. The references also appear to be unrelated Apple's address book synching.

In potentially related news, a European Apple design filing discovered earlier this month revealed several iPod concept designs, including one that appeared to blend an iPod nano with a cell phone.

Apple may also be working on some form of iPod-based instant messenger application, if you believe in reading into some additional clues embedded into the latest iPod software such as "t_feature_app_MESSENGER_APP," "clMessengerModel," and "clMessengerApplication."

In his investigation, VL-Tone also discovered references to an iPod-based search application, an iPod keyboard, and what appear to be two new game applications: Simon and Stacker.

The same iPod software package also hints at a version of Apple's iPod software that will allow users to change interface themes, create a customized startup photo, set background images and specify font preferences.

A complete list of VL-Tone's discoveries, many of which were not present in previous versions of Apple's iPod software, is available on the AppleInsider forums.