BlackBerry challenge to iPhone

A summer sales war is about to break out between Apple’s iPhone and the BlackBerry, as the two wildly popular mobile phone brands do battle with new, upgraded versions of their internet-enabled devices.

Research in Motion, the company behind the BlackBerry, unveiled the BlackBerry Bold yesterday morning, hoping that a host of new video and music features will snare consumers who previously associated the device only with business users.

Wall Street traders sent Research in Motion shares to an all-time high on news of the launch, which showed the company had resolved technical issues earlier than expected, and puts it on course to challenge Apple’s iPhone for consumers’ hearts.

There was rising speculation yesterday that Apple could be ready to announce the launch of its next generation iPhone, with better internet access, as early as 9 June, when Steve Jobs, chief executive, speaks at a technology conference.

Apple’s online store had sold out of the current generation of iPhones, and retailers reported dwindling stockpiles of the device, suggesting Apple is clearing shelves ready for a replacement product launch.