Apple sets iPhone debut for June 29

Apple Inc.'s iPhone will debut June 29, the company announced in new television commercials that aired Sunday night on the CBS news show 60 Minutes.

The Friday release date gets the iPhone under Apple's self-imposed wire by just a day. Apple has repeatedly said it would unveil its first-ever cell phone this month, and last week at a conference sponsored by The Wall Street Journal, company CEO Steve Jobs agreed when asked if the rollout date would be "the last day of June."

Bloggers, analysts and other pundits have been picking iPhone dates for weeks, with June 11, June 15 and June 20 among the possible first-purchase days. The tagline at the end of each commercial sets the record straight: "Coming June 29." Presumably, the iPhone will be available in Apple and AT&T Inc. retail and online stores that day, and not simply ready for preorder.

Three commercials touting the iPhone have been posted to Apple's Web site. Dubbed "Never Been an iPod," "How To" and "Calamari," the 30-second ads promote the phone's music and video play, its basic operation, and the connection between seeing a giant squid in a movie playing on an iPhone and a hunger for calamari.

While the ads are the first look the public has gotten of the iPhone in action, they also disclosed one additional fact: Buyers will be required to sign a two-year (or longer) contract with the phone's only wireless carrier, AT&T. Small print at the bottom of the screen at the end of each ad reads: "Use requires minimum new two-year activation plan."

Two weeks ago, the blog "Boy Genius Report" claimed that AT&T account codes were clues that buyers could also sign up for pay-as-you-go plans. Apple's ads discount that option, at least for the iPhone launch.

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