iPhone Mania Nears Fever Pitch

By Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY June 20, 2007

LOS ANGELES - Christopher Parr won't go so far as to bring his sleeping bag to his local AT&T store to be first in line for Apple's coveted iPhone when it goes on sale next week.

But he will be there opening night to plunk down $599 for the combination iPod, cellphone and wireless Internet device within hours of its debut.

"Cellphones have under-delivered," says Parr, 40, of Madison, Wis. "This fills a real void. Most Internet over the phone is a terrible user experience. I love the idea of having the real Internet in my pocket."

June 29 is the day many gear-heads have marked on their calendars as iDay, the release of what independent analyst Richard Doherty calls "the most eagerly awaited consumer technology device of the last 20 years."

Since January, when it was first announced, the iPhone has captivated consumers, Wall Street investors and the media as the right product at the right time.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has positioned it as the most advanced meeting of the Internet and wireless technology, with an iPod thrown in for good measure. And it looks really cool, and unlike any phone before it.

For Apple, the release of the iPhone promises to effectively double the company's revenue within just a few years, based on the worldwide thirst for cellphones. For consumers, the trick is going to be nabbing one of the early iPhones on opening day before stock sells out.

The iPhone is being sold only at Apple's 200 retail stores, Apple's website and nearly 1,800 AT&T (formerly Cingular) stores beginning at

6 p.m. local time across the country. AT&T says it will close its stores at 4:30 p.m. and reopen at 6 p.m. Apple would not comment on its plans. No pre-orders are being accepted. Fans are expected to camp out in front of stores for days.

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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Well, we will see ... we will see. PAT]

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