Countdown to Launch of iPhone Begins

As eagerly awaited as the lift-off of a major space mission, the rollout of Apple's new iPhone is topping headlines around the world. Rarely does the launch of a new consumer electronics device merit such coverage, but the iPhone draws its energy from the spectacular success of the iPod from Apple, which has dominated the handheld music-player market for the past few years (and revived a sagging brand name in the process). Scheduled for release this Friday, the iPhone promises, as one journalist phrased it, to become "the closest consumers have come to carrying their life with them wherever they go." With that in mind, let's see what else the technorati have, breathlessly, to say on the big release of the next big thing.

From the Associated Press:

Even if the product flops for some reason or stays limited to the high-end corner of the smart phone market, the iPhone has already jolted the industry, showing that it is not just the body and outwardly beauty of the handset that counts, but what's inside.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Some already have started to embrace this lifestyle with smart phones such as the BlackBerry, but none of the iPhone competitors on the market offer quite as much as Apple is promising. Looking back, the iPhone could mark a tipping point, encouraging the masses to look at their cell phone as more than a cell phone and prompting profound changes in everything from privacy to citizen journalism. It could -- assuming the iPhone succeeds -- help introduce a new age of mobile living.

From the Toronto Globe and Mail:

Could [the] iPhone, with its vaunted multitouch screen, be the innovation that pushes aside cellphones, BlackBerrys and even PCs when it goes on sale later this week? That seems unlikely. But the mere fact that analysts and tech geeks alike are buzzing about the device's promise in the same breath as other breakthrough technologies is a testament to Apple's design and marketing touch.

From the Detroit Free Press:

According to today's Apple/AT&T announcement, once the iPhone is activated, users can then easily sync all of their phone numbers and other contact information, calendars, email accounts, web browser bookmarks, music, photos, podcasts, TV shows and movies just like they do when they sync their iPods with iTunes.... Man, this thing is really getting expensive.

From the New Zealand Herald:

Worries over the high cost, slow network speed, and battery life are deterring some customers from ponying up a minimum of $499 ($NZ651) for the device, despite the buzz across the gadget-crazed landscape of tech retail.

From the Turkish Press:

Analysts are divided on whether the Apple's "smart" mobile phone will be an industry-changing device or be too expensive to compete with other smart phones such as the BlackBerry.

From the International Herald Tribune:

Apple's new smart phone, the iPhone, stands a fighting chance of becoming an "It Object." That's one of the elite cadre of products, that have such a strong impact on so many people's lives that, decades later, they're remembered as icons of their time. Few, if any, of the tens of thousands of mostly forgettable new products that surface each year have the feeblest hope of attaining "It" status.

Somewhere today Steve Jobs is smiling at all the hoopla. After all, he created it.

iPhone Specs:

Screen size: 3.5 inches (diagonal)

Screen resolution: 320 x 480 pixels

Storage: 4GB or 8GB

Operating system: OS X utilizing a multiple-touch screen interface

Wireless technology: GSM (quad-band 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

Wireless data: Wi-Fi, EDGE, Bluetooth 2.0

Camera: 2 megapixels

Battery life: Talk time 8 hours, standby 250 hours, Internet use 6 hours, video playback 7 hours, music playback 24 hours

Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.4 x .46 inches (115 x 61 x 11.6mm)

Weight: 4.8 ounces (135 grams)

Price: US$499 (4GB) and $599 (8GB)

Operator: Sold exclusively through AT&T with a two-year contract

Features: Music and video player, Safari browser, Google Maps, Visual voice mail and YouTube support

Availability: Friday, 6 p.m. at Apple and AT&T stores

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