The iPod phone might be much closer to release than previously thought, if reports are to believed.

Apple Insider is claiming that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been uncharacteristically discussing the new device with trusted people. This is very unlike Jobs, who rarely discusses an unreleased product, but the report claims the innovative tech industry leader is personally excited by the device.

The report claims two prototype devices have been released to potential manufacturers of the product.

Recent news that Apple is ramping up its demand for flash memory and rampant analyst speculation of new iPods in September also gets a boost.

Apple Insider's second claim is that the new iPhone will turn up earlier than some expect "in the form of a 'big bang' introduction that will catch even some insiders off-guard", the report claims.