Apple to Sell IPhone June 29, According to New Ads (Update7)

By Adam Satariano and Connie Guglielmo

June 4 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. plans to start selling the iPhone June 29, setting up a showdown with Nokia Oyj and Motorola Inc. in the market for advanced mobile phones.

The release date was announced in three advertisements posted on Apple's Web site yesterday. Until now Cupertino, California-based Apple had only said the device, which combines a mobile phone with the iPod music player, would go on sale in late June.

Apple has shipped more than 100 million iPods since Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs introduced the player in 2001. He's seeking to parlay that popularity into sales of the iPhone, setting a goal of selling 10 million units in 2008. Availability may be limited, which could build ``buzz'' for the product, JPMorgan Securities Inc. analyst Bill Shope said in a report today.

``Users may put off iPod purchases for the iPhone, but they may have to deal with a long wait,'' Shope said. He also said Apple will ``need to go beyond just buzz'' to justify the phone's price and two-year contract for consumers. JP Morgan is keeping its ``neutral'' rating on the shares, he said.

Shares of Apple, which also makes the Macintosh computer, climbed $2.93, or 2.5 percent, to $121.33 at 4 p.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market. They have risen 42 percent since Jobs announced the iPhone on Jan. 9. Apple's market capitalization topped $100 billion for the first time last week.

Low Expectations?

Two iPhone models will be available: a $499 version with 4 gigabytes of memory and an 8-gigabyte model for $599. Apple will sell the device with help from AT&T Inc., the largest U.S. mobile-phone service. The iPhone will be available in Europe later this year and in Asia in 2008.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said last week that expectations are ``too low'' for iPhone sales. He said San Antonio-based AT&T has attracted interest from more than 1 million customers for the device, which features a touch-screen display instead of a physical keyboard and lets users access e-mail and surf the Web.

``I think they'll ship 10 million this calendar year,'' said Stephen Coleman, chief investment officer at St. Louis-based Daedelus Capital, which has owned Apple's shares since February 2004. Coleman said he plans to be among those buyers.

The iPhone may buoy sales as Apple introduces new iPod and Mac models. Analysts expect a new video iPod based on the iPhone design as well as updated computers in coming months. That may spur back-to-school and holiday orders.

Apple TV

Jobs, 52, last quarter also introduced Apple TV, a $299 set- top box that beams digital videos from computers to widescreen televisions. And he announced a deal last week to display videos from Google Inc.'s YouTube online service using the device.

In April, Apple said second-quarter profit rose 88 percent to $770 million as more customers bought iPods and Mac computers. Declining prices for memory chips and screens also helped boost the company's profit margin.

Of the analysts who follow Apple shares, 23 rate them ``buy,'' four have ``hold'' ratings, and none advise selling, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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