It's unlikely that Apple, Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is working on a new cheaper version of its iPhone mobile device to replace its iPod Nano music players soon, said one analyst Wednesday.

A report of the possible change in Apple's product lineup circulated on Monday.

J.P. Morgan analyst Bill Shope told clients and investors in a note today that he was unable to independently confirm research released a day-earlier by fellow J.P Morgan analyst, Kevin Chang, of the firm's Asian division.

Perhaps Apple will choose to eventually replace its iPod family with phones over time, but it could be premature to assume this will happen in volume any time soon, Shope stated.

Chang, citing people in the supply channel and an application with the U.S Patent and Trademark office, issued a report on July 8 suggesting that Apple may follow up the iPhone by converting an iPod Nano into a phone, and price it at around $300.

Apple filed a patent application document dated July 5 that refers to a multifunctional handheld device with a circular touch pad control, similar to the Nano's scroll wheel. Shope warned that patents filed by Apple in the past gave little insight into the company's direction, however.

Indeed, we caution that this patent filing might merely be a placeholder for potential avenues of design in the future, particularly if Apple wants to reduce the size of the high-end iPhone or if the company eventually wants to offer an alternative to the current touchscreen interface, Shope wrote.

A lower-end iPhone is inevitable, he noted, but contends introducing it so soon would be risky. If introduced, the product would compete directly with the very successful iPod Nano.

Instead, the researcher believes the next iPhone will be launched in the first half of 2008, and will include 3G wireless network capabilities while retaining a high price.

The current iPhone, which went on sale June 29, combines capabilities of a music player and a web-browser, as well as traditional phone services. Analysts have estimated that sales in the first weekend were as high as 700,000 units.

Apple gained $2.04, or 1.57 percent to trade at $132.37 by mid-day trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.