iPhone Anticipation Reaches Fever Pitch

As Apple prepares to debut its much coveted iPhone on Friday, consumer frenzy and marketing hysteria hit overdrive.

"I'm a slave to the iPod I might as well be a slave to the iPhone," said one man.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has brought iPhone excitement to fever pitch. Announced back in January, consumers have waited anxiously for the iPhone's arrival. It's a cell phone, music and video player, Internet browser and e-mail device.

The product only will be available for purchase at Apple stores and through AT&T, the exclusive cell phone carrier for the iPhone.

According to one survey by M Metrics, more than 60 percent of consumers are aware of what the iPhone is and an unprecedented chunk of those people are interested in buying one.

"Having an iPhone within the first six months is going to be a status symbol: 'I have one. You don't have one,'" said analyst Mike Goodman of Yankee Group.

The media has featured more than 5,000 articles written about the iPhone to date. And the hype keeps growing, with Apple unveiling displays at some of their stores. The company also has posted new iPhone tutorial videos online.

AT&T is so bullish about the consumer interest they have hired an extra 2,000 temporary employees just to handle the onslaught.

Apple has not even released the $500 phone to tech experts for an objective review. But, that is not deterring some consumers. One man told ABC News he would buy the phone sight unseen because he trusts it.

"I think people are expecting something really innovative from Apple," said analyst Nick Wingfield of the Wall Street Journal. "They have done incredible things with the iPod. So, they are thinking that they might have a similar turn out in terms of innovation from the cell phone market."

But the superstar of the wireless market does have some cons. It is a first generation product, which may mean it could have some bugs or quirks. Also, it's a pricey venture, with an eight gigabyte model costing $600 and the four gigabyte model $500.

Historically, cell phone trends indicate the price may decrease later. But, Apple will probably keep the price drops a little controlled so the iPhone will never get so cheap that it cannibalizes its big brother the iPod.

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