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Apple announces iPhone release date

First test for Apple's iPod phone in the US

Apple will launch its iPhone in the US on 29 June, it said in TV commercials that began airing on Sunday.

The much-talked-about iPhone combines the features of an iPod music and video player with those of a mobile telephone and will be available through AT&T Wireless Services.

AT&T, which acquired Cingular Wireless, hasn't yet announced details of how it will sell the phones although long lines outside outlets are almost assured if the phone will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The iPhone is expected to become available in Europe later this year.

See our iPhone review.

Two models will be available in the US. One with 4GB of memory will cost $499 (£260) a version with double the memory will cost $599 (£305), the companies said previously.

Announcement of the launch date ends a five-month guessing game that began in January when Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone during his Macworld Expo keynote speech.

During the keynote Jobs touted the iPhone as "revolutionary" and demonstrated its features to an enthralled audience. Chief among them is Multi-Touch, a touchscreen display system that can differentiate and react to simultaneous touches from two fingers. Typically touchpanels cannot handle input at more than one point on the screen.

In addition to the 3.5in display, the phone will feature a 2-megapixel camera, headset and audio jacks, and an iPod dock.

The first iPhone model will be quad-band GSM, meaning it should work in almost every major country in the world. Exceptions to this will be Japan and South Korea, where GSM is not used. Data transmission will be supported by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and EDGE.

Also read: Zune shelved for iPhone killer

Behind the iPhone's slick user interface is Apple's Mac OSX operating system. Apple had previously said that third-party developers wouldn't be able to write applications and load them onto the phone, but speaking last week Jobs said Apple is working on a way to allow developers access to the phone.

Apple has also posted three of the iPhone TV commercials on its website.

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