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Rate plans start at $59.99 plus a one time activation fee of $36

The launch of Apple's iPhone is just days away and people are already starting to camp out for the next "it" device. Close to 400,000 units could be up for grabs on launch day from 162 Apple Store and roughly 1,800 AT&T locations.

In the mean time, Apple has been trickling out little tidbits of information regarding the iPhone to keep interest high. Over the past week, we’ve learned that the iPhone will ship with YouTube integration along with a higher-capacity battery and a 3.5” display screen with “optical-quality glass.”

Today, Apple and AT&T announced three rate plans that will be available for the iPhone.

"We want to make choosing a service plan simple and easy, so every plan includes unlimited data with direct Internet access, along with Visual Voicemail and a host of other goodies," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "We think these three plans give customers the flexibility to experience all of iPhone’s revolutionary features at affordable and competitive prices."

The entry-level $59.99 plan will get you 450 anytime minutes along with 5,000 nights and weekend minutes. Stepping up to the $79.99 plan will get you 900 anytime minutes and unlimited nights and weekends. The top-level $99 plan gets you 1350 anytime minutes and unlimited nights and weekends.

All rate plans allow for unlimited data (email and web), Visual Voicemail, 200 SMS text messages, unlimited mobile-to-mobile and rollover minutes.

Also noted in the press release is that a one-time activation fee of $36 will be charged for the iPhone. Given the extremely high interest level for the iPhone, it's likely that not many will bat an eye at the charge which would usually irritate consumers.

In addition, Apple and AT&T also announced that new iPhone users will be able to activate their phone through iTunes -- there is no need to wait at the store to go through the activation process.

"Users will be able to activate their new iPhone in the comfort and privacy of their own home or office, without having to wait in a store while their phone is activated," said Jobs. "There are tens of millions of people in the US who already know how to sync their iPods with iTunes, and syncing their new iPhone with iTunes works the same way."

"iPhone’s user-driven activation is another example of how AT&T and Apple have partnered to bring innovative new features to our customers," said AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson. "iPhone’s innovative activation and sync is just one example of how this is going to be a real industry game-changer."

Apple’s iPhone will be priced at $499 for the 4GB model and at $599 for the 8GB model -- both require a two-year service agreement.



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iPhone goes "phut"... too bad...
By kilkennycat on 6/26/2007 9:05:29 PM , Rating: 1
The iPhone sim-chip is soldered-in.

Disadvantages:

* No physical transfer of Sim-chip to backup phone.... too bad, presumably there is a mechanism for storing the phone-list on your PC or mac and auto-recovering it to another iPhone. If Apple is involved, not very likely to be able to recover that list automatically to a standard cell-phone. No doubt able to manually read and modify the list on your PC/Mac.

* No unlocked phones. Captive to AT&T.

Advantage:

* Make the phone far less desirable for the thief.
Totally useless AS A PHONE to the thief after the owner has reported the theft to AT&T, unless a bunch of the custom sim-chips has fallen off a truck and the thief is adept at surface-mount soldering. Also, I would not be surprised if there is additional security built-in such that that the iPhone will be "told" by AT&T to shut down ALL OF ITS FUNCTIONS irreversibly if turned on, detected by AT&T's network and flagged as stolen.




By Ralph The Magician on 6/26/2007 11:06:10 PM , Rating: 2
The SIM is not soldered-in. If you look at the top of the phone, between the hold switch/power button and the mic jack there is a strange kind of slit with a small button. That's where you put the SIM card. It's a small tray that pops out, just like the battery does on the bottom of the Apple Remote.


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