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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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RE: absurd
By msheredy on 6/27/2007 12:11:17 PM , Rating: 2
I'm going to go ahead and predict that the iPhone turns out to be a disaster. Not because it doesn't have great features mind you, but that another company will bring just as many features at a fraction of the price.

This is the case with just about everything that Apple makes. There are several mp3 players with much lower price points and more features, but guess what the iPod is still number 1. The problem with the others is that they aren't cool. Almost all Apple products have the cool factor built in because of their brilliant marketing. Their products are very well built too. Fit and finish are top notch, I have both an HP & MacBook Pro and the Mac is just such a better machine all around.

To say the iPhone will be a disaster will only be true if the network (which hasn't sounded to good so far) brings it down.

RE: absurd
By michael2k on 6/27/2007 3:29:22 PM , Rating: 2
You need to go back to the 1st gen iPod if you want to talk about "several players with much lower price points and more features". All the current contenders (Zune, Zen, Clix, Archos, Sansa) are essentially iPod clones.

Before the iPod changed the landscape, you had the PMPs, PJBs, Nomad Jukeboxes, Yepps, and MDs.

The lower price points you speak of are a market response to Apple's dominance, an attempt to take marketshare away by lowering the price point of entry; the same with additional features.

Apple rose to dominance because they did, from October 2001, have a superior form factor, user interface, and usability compared to the Yepps, Nomads, MDs, PMPs, and PJBs.

So if the iPhone is a success, expect in two years for everyone else to have a touch screen, large screen, keyless form factor. If it is a bust, well, expect no copycats :)

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