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Will the next iPod have EDGE?

A reader has passed along a very interesting bit of info, for what it’s worth. We wrote last month about Matushita (Panasonic) and their decision to lay off employees, including some American workers, in order to focus on domestic markets. A reader, who identifies himself as a mechanical engineer with Panasonic Mobile in Atlanta, correctly tells us that his office is being shut down. That means a bunch of engineers are looking around for work.

According to the reader, Apple hasn’t been interested in mechanical engineers like him, but they have been snapping up RF engineers “like there is no tomorrow”. Here’s where it gets good – they are specifically looking for people with EDGE experience.

Apple, of course, won’t officially say anything, but the reader and his engineer buddies have chatted with Apple engineers. His sense is that they are shooting for an EDGE enabled iPod (though not necessarily a phone) sometime this fall. He’ll speculate on the timeframe, but has no guess on the eventual carrier.

This news makes sense given the “Mobile Me” trademark news we got last week. iPod fans will surely have their fingers crossed. We can pretty much guarantee that no news will come from Apple on this for a long time yet.

An online job listing on Apple’s site confirms this information (jobs.apple.com), an opening for a Sr. RF Engineer is listed. The job description is as follows; “The Sr. RF Engineer will define and design Apple future wireless products. He/she will work in a technology group on next generation wireless communications products as well as the integration of wireless technology within Macintosh systems. He/she will work proactively with other cross-functional engineering groups such as industrial design, product design, EMC, reliability, software engineering, and all of the computer system project teams. Experience with wireless module integration into consumer products is desired. Additionally, the engineer must be able to interact closely with offshore engineering development and manufacturing partners. International and domestic travel is likely.”

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